[Osmf-talk] Membership fee waiver

joost schouppe joost.schouppe at gmail.com
Wed Nov 14 22:08:52 UTC 2018

Hi Rob,

I can't give an account for the first three years, but I can share my
perspective about the last. I specifically joined the MWG a year ago to
help push forward the waiver fee program.

Over the last year, most of the volunteer time has gone to keeping the
engine running. There were deep problems with the management software for
membership (civicrm), which made it easy to lose members. There was a weird
problem with reminders about lapsing membership. Since we do not have a
self service area, people depend on these reminders. It was a hard problem
to fix, which involved a lot of cooperation between people, as well as a
lot if discussion about whether or not to hire consultancy to fix it; or
even to make sure they could actually work if hired.

At all the meetings I attended, I brought up the waiver fee. There always
seemed to be new barriers to just start with it. A form, a procedure,
default lettres, membership classes. Since the meetings were rather spread
out, you also lose time with bringing back to mind all the details. Since a
lot of the work required knowledge about the inner workings of the
software, there wasn't a lot of work I could do as a not so technical
newbie. When there were things I could do myself, my own time constraints
came in the way - as well as recently finding out a lot of thinking work we
did together was lost because we used an exotic open source tool that
disappeared from the internet.

So my analysis if the last year would be: too little volunteers to do the
actual work, and a lack of efficient workflows.

IIRC we did get several board checkups on the waiver fee and the occasional
call to think bigger.
I don't think there is anyone to blame, except maybe if you start looking
for the root causes of our lack of volunteers. Since I don't want to turn
this into my position statement for the Board elections, I'll hold that
thought for now. I will say that this experience is what led me to try and
revive the local chapters group as a community building group. This group
would try to work in and with the other working groups to support and push
relevant projects forward. Unfortunately that try has not really resulted
in much just yet.

All the best,
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