[Osmf-talk] Paid Staff

Kate Chapman kate at maploser.com
Mon Aug 27 06:41:09 UTC 2012

I agree with Frederik that having a paid staff would change many
things. Though I think we need to think beyond the way things are now
and how they could be in the future and also look to what people
desire them to be.

On Sun, Aug 26, 2012 at 2:51 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Hi,
>    I think I should maybe clarify my own position regarding paid staff at
> OSMF and give others - candidates or not - the opinion to voice theirs.
> 1. The effects of paid staff (executive or not)
> 1b. The foremost quality of paid staff is that it is paid. You can of course
> pay freelancers for a project but if you think long-term you will want to
> employ people and given them a perspective and a promise. This requires
> money of a different kind than we have now; not the occasional donation, but
> longer-term commitments from donors that allow us to plan ahead. This, in
> turn, means we need to raise funds differently, and quite possibly also
> enter closer relations with certain donors, which may come with some strings
> attached that we will have to weigh carefully. Having staff will very likely
> make us dependent on sponsorship, whereas the small budget we have today
> could easily be financed through membership fees and the occasional donation
> drive. We might even have to hire staff tasked with raising funds.

I think there are types of donors that we have not approached that can
fill these gaps. Meaning I don't think we should take millions of
dollars from a commercial company or at least the chances of their
being strings attached would be great. There are foundations though
were we could cite specific goals that the OSMF wants to reach in a
year and work together with those funders to reach them.

> 1c. As a follow-on of 1b, the organisation would suddenly have a much larger
> turnover, and the few individuals on the board would essentially control who
> gets all the money. This would requires top-notch accountability on the part
> of the board so that any potential allegations of cronyism are nipped in the
> bud. Board work would for the first time directly influence the livelihood
> of people, and would be rightly subject to more scrutiny than it is now.

Yes I agree that there would need to be far more transparency to the
rest of the foundation. I think there would need to be open defined
hiring strategies to ensure fair use of the money ensued. I've been in
organizations before where the person previously doing a job as a
volunteer was not the one hired to do the full-time job once funds had
been raised. This caused problems within the community. That said in
that case the person hired was actually more qualified, but it is hard
to compare the job they did to the original volunteer position. Simply
because it was a cause of someone doing it in their free time versus
as a full-time job.

> 2. How to decide whether we should have paid staff
> 2a. decide what we would like to do (or to be done);
> 2b. determine whether, or how, it can be done by volunteers;
> 2c. determine the cost and/or potential adverse effect of having it done by
> paid staff;
> 2d. compare with money and/or capacity to deal with adverse effect available
> 2e. decide what to buy ;)

Yes, I think these are good steps. I think the "we" should be larger
than the board and must include community input.

> I think it is acceptable to hire paid staff if one is clear about the scope,
> and one has carefully weighted the reasons for and against. For me, the
> reasons "against" which I have sketched in 1. weigh heavily and would have
> to be offset by a real, demonstrable gain for the whole project.
> The one thing that I think is definitely wrong is to do things the other way
> round: "Let's hire an Executive Director and see where we go from there."

Yes, I don't think it makes sense to just hire an Executive Director.
Having more strategic planning activities would be a good step.  By
having a strategic plan in place then we can begin decide what to do.
That said I never think these types of plans should be in stone.
Meaning there needs to be opportunities for adjustment as the
community changes and grows.


> Bye
> Frederik
> --
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
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