I was encouraged by @lauriewayne1 shift this topic here.
In the global meeting last May, I asked if other instances would have organization maps where their key roles (staff or volunteers) are represented. we in OFN Ireland are working on developing ours hence it would be useful to see what has worked for others (even if you feel there are still changes needed).
It’s an awesome question @ferrazfil, because the way we organize is such an expression of our vision for OFN in our country. In the US we have recently incorporated as a federally tax exempt nonprofit, and that required us to do things like have a board of directors and officers in a traditional patriarchal structure. It felt weird, especially given the global community’s generous, egalitarian, sociocratic ideals.
As we move forward and grow ( ), the thing I am seeing is that we need to balance work done with the idea that someone has to be responsible for the money that runs the instance and our commitment to our users. To me this is the biggest gap in our org now. This description of the work that needs to get done for an instance is really helpful, but as I am signing more and more pieces of paper that makes me personally responsible for grants and donations, I feel a lot more serious need to document these for our instance (with, like an org map).
The other thing a well-defined org structure can do, I think, is to change both the culture of the work group and each person’s relationship with the work. It’s super important. Thank you for bringing it up! How are you organizing in Ireland at the moment?
[Please note some remarks here are quite personal. I am expanding some items here a bit freely. Note that some of my colleagues might have a slightly different view on the matter].
Well I cannot really say that we are actually even done with the first phase. Our organization’s official registration is: Co-operative Society Limited. Within this structure we pushed forward the concept of a solidarity co-operative to the main Irish entity that could certify us as a cooperative (note the word “pushed” is not used here lightly, as the concept is not entirely understood nor widely accepted by this Irish entity, in any case a good note that they finally did accept our position).
This format requires a Board of Directors (we are 7 at the moment, not that 7 was the requirement but basically the people who have been coming to the meetings since the start and have contributed with their time and some pocket money to get things going initially). Also required is a minimum number of officers (a Chairperson, a Secretary and a Treasurer).
Now, before we had an official structure, we decided that we would set a Steering Committee (same people that took a position in the Board of Directors).
There are also those roles that have almost organically appeared and just assumed, not that we have taken any official decision around it, they just felt like the right thing to do according with the skills and time/ availability some of the members had. Example: a Meetings Facilitator/Instance Leader, an Instance Manager/Administrator, an IT Manager, a Hubs Coordinator, a Governance Advisor, a PR/Social Media Officer, and more recently a Innovation Development Officer.
Side Note: an issue we currently have is that a lot of these roles are overlapping and we would really love to start incorporating more members in some specific roles. Not that we can pay for it but it does become quite an overwhelming responsibility at some point (even with paid positions).
Hence we do need to have a more strategic and potentially officially agreed structure. Not just due to some of the aspects you mention @lauriewayne1 but because we feel we need a minimum working efficient structure before we can get to an ideal structure. We have made some steps towards this objective following the Sociocratic model, we just haven’t really arrived to a conclusion because time is not abundant and we do need to discuss a number of items in our meetings.
I guess this is where we are, at least it is a the best way that I can describe it .