The VSG was focussed on our Volunteer Strategy Consultation, and involved discussions of our developing project based model, volunteer structures, and how we can encourage new ideas, incubate them, and bring them to fruition through these new structures and developing project-processes.
Some full notes were collated on Etherpad, and no doubt the key points will be distilled from that soon. So this post is really just the notes from my table, and the short presentation I gave on the volunteer structures (below).
One of the key messages the proposals are trying to address, which was reiterated yesterday, is that it should be easier to work out how to get involved with WMUK’s work, and commensurately, it should be easier to work out what that work is. Volunteering cuts across this, and should be integrated into our programmes to avoid silo’ing of roles, and of expertise (e.g. education, GLAM, etc.). This also means we need to get better at thinking about volunteer opportunities outside programmes/projects, e.g. I am particularly interested in supporting incubation and evaluation – but in some ways these aren’t traditional “Wikimedian volunteer” roles; others are genuinely happy to come and take minutes at meetings, help organise other office tasks; one way to ensure people know what we’re doing is to look for volunteers to write about what we’re doing; and so on.
The proposals are aiming to balance:
- The need for mechanisms to propose and get approved specified projects as work packages – with defined purposes (against our strategic goals), specified resources (including specialist expertise from staff/others), funding options, partnership opportunities, etc.
- Mechanisms to allow people to just express ideas, and then be supported to articulate them into fully fledged projects – expecting people to have a fully specified and costed project from the outset will clearly be very off-putting and burdensome
And this needs to be not just “how can we resource volunteers” (which implies a static group, and a particular relation to volunteering), but “how can we build our community together”. Crucially, as Charles Matthews noted, we need people who’ll be bold and make proposals, we need people who’ll help them out to articulate those proposals to structure them and offer advice on (sometimes niche) elements, and we need people to really bulk them up and expand on them.
So! I hope we’ll get some fuller notes out in the next week or so, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things move forward.