January 2010 Operational planning meeting/Notes

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Over the weekend we held a number of formal sessions devoted to three topics: Priorities, Policies and Products. Priorities and Products concerned public-facing mission-motivated activities, whereas Policies concerned administrative and governance related needs (little or no visible output, but necessary for a sound NFP structure, to meet legal obligations and manage risk). The sessions were faciliated by Donna Benjamin of Creative Contingencies.

Priorities

NFP governance

Firstly, a brief presentation was given by Brianna, talking about the characteristics of not-for-profit associations (NFPs), in particular concerning governance and individual and collective board responsibilities. The aim was to set the scene in terms of thinking of the commonality we have with other NFPs, rather than thinking about what sets us apart from them.

Motivation

Secondly we went around the committee and each talked about why we had put our hand up to take part, and what we thought were the big issues facing the chapter in the coming year. Issues raised included:

  • A desire to move from being a "working" board to an "oversight" board
  • Concerns about the value of membership, and the high membership churn rate
  • A desire to increase regional participation
  • The need to improve processes, and develop basic policies so that future committees can concentrate on more interesting issues
  • A question raised about what our relationship to Wikipedia editors is, or should be
  • A sense of confused direction
  • Unclear separation between leadership and "task-doers".

Brainstorming

Photo of our priorities-choosing chart.

A few weeks before this meeting was held, we invited brainstorming suggestions for the chapter at IdeaScale ( http://wmau.ideascale.com/ ). 13 ideas received more than one vote:

  • Votes - idea name
  • 110 - Create information kit to enable people to do outreach
  • 52 - Create Wikimedia-based lesson plans for K-12 teachers to use
  • (45 - Improve the hosting of wikimedia.org.au)
  • 42 - Bid for Wikimania
  • (41 - open up the official wiki......goodness is sure to follow!)
  • (27 - Use geo-sitenotices)
  • 24 - Develop outreach "best practices"
  • 21 - Chapter blog and/or twitter feed
  • 20 - Rules reform to allow more flexible office-holder arrangements
  • 18 - Create "small grants" scheme to supper small member initiatives
  • 15 - Audit of Australian content on WP and Commons
  • (9 - Review reports from other chapters for ideas)
  • 8 - Get a professional marketing plan to convince GLAMs about benefit of free culture collaboration

We listed these ideas on a small chart (see image). (Some ideas were not listed, those in parentheses above, as it was felt they did not fit the "big picture" ideas we were looking for, and could be easily dealt with on a smaller time scale.) We also added some ideas that had not been explicitly captured via IdeaScale:

  • "Meetups" - putting greater attention towards encouraging regular meetups in more locations
  • "Furthering the GLAM agenda" - further improving our relationships with cultural institutions and encouraging collaborative projects with such partners
  • "Intro courses - outreach, how to" - developing instructional material to run "How to edit Wikipedia" style courses for the general public and/or targeted groups.

We then used star voting (see image). Each member put 4 gold stars on their #1 idea, 2 red stars on their #2 idea and 1 green star on their #3 idea.

From this, it was clear that the following ideas had the most support:

  • Info kit - 19 votes
  • Small grants - 11 votes
  • Lesson plans - 8 votes (most popular "second" idea)
  • Rules reform - 5 votes.

It was decided that the "rules reform" discussion was more fitting with the Policy discussion.

Policies

A number of administrative needs were raised for discussion.

Rules changes

Rules changes have been mooted ever since our first AGM, where it was realised that the Rules strictly don't allow an election candidate to stand for more than one committee position. Possible issues that may be resolved or partially resolved by Rules changes include:

  • Allow election candidates to stand for multiple positions in the committee
  • Creation of a position of Membership officer, separate to Secretary role (the Rules currently explicitly require the Secretary to fulfill most membership-related activities)
  • 2 year terms for committee members -- to increase board membership stability and sustainability
  • Staggered elections for committee members -- as above (avoid the risk that sweeping change leaves no member with institutional knowledge)
  • Creation of appointed committee member positions -- help mitigate the risk of lack of some vital skills amongst committee members (e.g. financial)

The issues above are raised as ones thought to be worth discussing, not "made decisions" by the committee.

  • Champion: Brian

F2F sequel

It was discussed whether the committee would benefit from a second face to face meeting. It was felt that it was too early to decide, and so this topic was shelved.

Auditor

An auditor is required to gain fundraising approval in most Australian states. Steve volunteered to approach some local accountants.

  • Champion: Steve

Fundraising

Brian has already worked to gain fundraising approval for the chapter in Victoria and Tasmania, but the other states now rest on gaining an auditor.

  • Champion: Brian

DGR status

Some discussion was had about the question of which category is most appropriate. We have received some informal advice that some NFPs have applied for years and years before gaining approval. It was also suggested to add letters of approval with our application.

It was decided this topic needs a sub-committee to deal with it after the more pressing issues of Rules changes & fundraising have been dealt with.

  • Champions: Brian, Sarah (post-SGM)

Needed policies

Policies identified as being needed are:

  • Board manual - duties and responsibilities, role statements
  • Code of conduct
  • Conflict of interest
  • Donor privacy
    • 1: Brianna
    • 2: Sarah
  • Media
    • 1: Sarah
    • 2: Liam
  • Remuneration
  • Admin/procedural
    • 1: Brian
  • "permission"

Regarding a board manual, the WMF Board manual was identified as a good starting point. Brianna volunteered to create a template and each member would write something towards their own role statement.

Products

Calendar

These sessions were brainstorming about what specifically we should aim to achieve. Note also deadlines set on the calendar.

Info kit

To encourage and empower members and volunteers to do Wikimedia outreach.

Could include:

  • FAQ
  • Licensing/copyright guide
  • Australian copyright guide
  • Slide presentations - introduction to Wikimedia Australia, Wikipedia, Wikimedia, wikis (6-8 slides each)
  • HOWTOs - organise a meetup, approach an organisation
  • (WMF Annual Report)
  • Case studies - e.g. Craig Franklin & the Queensland Museum

Other comments:

  • for members and volunteers
  • should be modular - drop together components relevant to whatever is at hand
    • have a matrix showing which components are relevant for different purposes
  • WMF Outreach/Bookshelf and Meta/Best practices projects may have relevant information - get drafts etc from them
  • Metric: 10 member activities. ie, we measure the success of this component by how many members take new initiatives because of it.
  • Action: Brianna to make templates.
  • Champion: Andrew

Media kit

"Leave behind material", e.g. "How to edit Wikipedia" or even "How to join Wikipedia". Different target audience to info kit.

  • Champion: Sarah

Lesson plans

(NB: Nathan probably interested in this topic)

There are two possible ideas here - one is lesson plans that (re-)use Wikimedia works, and another is lesson plans that incorporate actively contributing to Wikimedia and really Wikimedia as the subject itself. We will mainly concentrate on the former as that has more potential, and especially as a "first attempt", but we would look for chances to incorporate the latter where possible.

This idea is similar to one that has been partially pursued with a friendly contact at the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (actually initiated by them). Brianna to follow up and actively pursue.

Steve to create "how to edit" lesson plans for teachers.

Member IRC meetings

It was suggested, but not yet followed through, to have regular member meetings on IRC with committee members contributing. It was decided to begin with monthly meetings and evaluate after three months.

Brianna to make a calendar.

Merchandise

This is a moderately pressing topic as we have an outstanding grant from the Wikimedia Foundation for this very purpose.

  • Steve to get quotes for a range of common products
  • Artwork to be """crowdsourced""" from Wikipedians (in ~ 6 weeks)
  • June: production
  • Not certain what the precise total of existing funds is
  • In the future, a portion of membership fees could be used towards this purpose.
  • Liam to get clarification with Kul at WMF about selling merchandise.
  • Champion: Steve

Small grants

Needs to have criteria with examples of possible uses. Total funds: $500. Not open to committee members. Limit up to $100 per application. Open from March to August. Winning grants must provide reports which will be published.

Examples:

  • Travel expense to visit something
  • Entry fee to museum
  • Venue hire for meetups
  • Printing brochures
  • Access to databases (alumni university library membership)
  • Gift to thank a museum for hosting a meeting
  • Purchasing education resources.

Criteria:

  • Explain how the proposal furthers the chapter mission
  • Applicant must be a current financial member
  • Successful projects must provide a report/receipt/evidence of activity, which will be made public if appropriate.
  • Default action will be reimbursement - if needed to be paid up front, that must be justified in the application
  • Liam to create a page outlining this process.

Conference grant

The chapter also has an outstanding grant from the WMF for the use of paying conference attendance and table fees.

Brianna to advertise this to members.