[TheThinkTank] How Were Your Organizational Transitions?

Audrey Wiedemeier audrey at bikelibrary.org
Tue Jun 23 11:54:19 PDT 2020


Hello All,

Great thread. The Bike Library went through a rough transition about 5
years ago when we hired our first full-time staff member (and Executive
Director). Many volunteer mechanics left, but in my opinion it was for the
best. In the last year we have hired a 2nd staff person who serves as the
Volunteer Coordinator and works 25 hrs per week. I can't tell you how much
it has helped, and I am so glad we did it last Nov so that she was
trained-up for Spring. We went from having aprox 30 volunteers working on
various tasks 7 days a week to only staff working after covid started. We
are in the process of transitioning volunteers back into the shop, and we
are grateful to have them. I think we could better serve our community if
we were to hire another paid staff (thank you for this thread because it's
really got me thinking about bringing this up). After visiting with folks
from BICAS at BIKEBIKE and hearing more about how they operate I am much
more interested in the coop model vs traditional non-profit, as well as how
well they are able to serve their community with their paid staff. Our
volunteers are wonderful and we value them tremendously.

Peace & grease,

*Audrey Wiedemeier* (She/her/hers)
Iowa City Bike Library, Director

700 S. Dubuque St, Iowa City
*COVID Hours: *Tues. - Thurs. 10 AM - 5 PM; Sat. 10 - 3 PM
Need something? Set up an appointment by email.
Want to donate? Drop off anytime during these hours. Thank you!

BikeLibrary.org
C: (515) 450-1651



On Mon, Jun 22, 2020 at 10:14 AM Jean-François Caron <jfcaron3 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> The AMS Bike Co-op & The Bike Kitchen at UBC in Vancouver went through
> two such transitions.
>
> One was a transition on the Bike Kitchen (DIY social enterprise bike
> shop) from worker-run to having a formal manager.   The transition was
> forced by the volunteer board of directors of the AMS Bike Co-op
> (student club under the university's student union) who officially have
> authority over the Bike Kitchen.  It was not a friendly transition, but
> it was deemed necessary since the business was basically failing.  There
> was not enough coordination between stocking supplies, parts, scheduling
> shifts, and pricing policy.  We (I was one of the directors) made the
> seniormost existing mechanic into a manager, and some mechanics left as
> a result.  IIRC they left explicitly because they only wanted to work in
> a worker collective context.  Since then, a new manager has been hired
> as a joint effort between the outgoing Bike Kitchen manager, employees,
> and the AMS Bike Co-op.
>
> The other transition was on the AMS Bike Co-op side.  We're still
> technically a student club under the university student union, but in
> addition to the volunteer board of directors, we have now had permanent
> paid staff for many years.  We initially only had temporary student
> labour paid out of grants, but at some point we passed a student levy
> that greatly increased our funding.  Our initial move was to hire an
> "Executive Director" permanent employee.  The title was just chosen
> because that's what we saw other non-profits using, but it turned out to
> be a problem because it implies global scope and it gave directors the
> wrong idea about what their job was, and the contract was too vague so
> everything became their job.  We renegotiated a contract with the title
> changed to "Programs Manager" along with other terms to make it more
> clear what was the scope of the job, and things went pretty well from
> there.  The Programs Manager managed the various outreach, volunteer,
> and collaboration programs, and also hired other permanent staff as
> needed.
>
> My little summary probably grossly oversimplifies things.  If anyone
> adds further details that contradicts some of what I said, I assume
> responsibility for misremembering.
>
> Jean-François
>
> On 2020-06-19 8:39 p.m., Carlyn Arteaga wrote:
> >    We are paid-staff-run but still consensus-based and mostly still
> > sales-via-donations sustained. I wasn't around during the transition,
> > though, so I can't help much on that front. But happy to answer any
> > specific questions about how we make it work.
> > ~Carlyn
> >
> > On Fri, Jun 19, 2020 at 1:29 AM Dennis Wollersheim <dewoller at gmail.com
> > <mailto:dewoller at gmail.com>> wrote:
> >
> >     I would also like to hear about this.  Our organisation is trying to
> >     hire a manager for the first time, and I can see it will be
> >     difficult for the board / senior volunteers to let go of control.
> >       I get exasperated when the board spends an hour discussing the
> >     wording of a social media post.  In my view, these should be
> >     procedural issues, dealt with by the manager.  It will be a painful
> >     transition, I reckon.
> >
> >     Cheers
> >     Dennis
> >
> >     On Fri, Jun 19, 2020 at 9:13 AM Thomas Butler
> >     <thomas.unavailable at gmail.com <mailto:thomas.unavailable at gmail.com>>
> >     wrote:
> >
> >         I’m interested to hear from people whose organizations made
> >         transitions from:
> >
> >         volunteer-centric to staff-centric
> >
> >         all-donation to grant-(or retail-)funded
> >
> >         consensus-run to exclusive/majoritarian board (or something else)
> >
> >
> >         In particular what were peoples’ objections to the transition?
> >         What problems or pitfalls were there? Did the shop lose its
> >         independence? What net-negatives were there (even if
> >         overwhelmingly outweighed by all the positives?)
> >
> >
> >         Please feel free to reply to my personal email here if there’s
> >         something you don’t want to put on blast:
> >
> >         thomas.unavailable at gmail.com <mailto:
> thomas.unavailable at gmail.com>
> >
> >
> >         My interest is not regarding articles of incorporation or how to
> >         fill out 501c3 paperwork. (there are threads on those topics in
> >         TheThinkTank archives
> >         <
> http://lists.bikecollectives.org/pipermail/thethinktank-bikecollectives.org/
> >
> >         if anyone is curious). Your testimonial is likely more relevant
> >         if your organization's incorporation is far in the past relative
> >         to its transition(s).
> >
> >
> >         Thank you all so much for the work you do in your own
> >         communities and for the work you do in this community of ours.
> >
> >
> >         Thomas Butler
> >
> >         he | they
> >
> >         Austin’s Yellow Bike Project
> >
> >
> >         ____________________________________
> >
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> >
> >         Unsubscribe from this list here:
> >
> http://lists.bikecollectives.org/options.cgi/thethinktank-bikecollectives.org
> >
> >
> >
> >     --
> >     --
> >     -------------------------------------------
> >     Dennis Wollersheim
> >     -------------------------------------------
> >     ____________________________________
> >
> >     The ThinkTank mailing List
> >
> >     Unsubscribe from this list here:
> >
> http://lists.bikecollectives.org/options.cgi/thethinktank-bikecollectives.org
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> > *Carlyn Arteaga*
> >
> > /pronouns: they/them/theirs/
> >
> > Youth Program Coordinator____
> >
> > *BICAS____*
> >
> > 2001 N. 7th Ave. | Tucson, AZ 85701 | Shop: 520-628-7950__
> >
> > carlyn.arteaga at bicas.org
> > <mailto:carlyn.arteaga at bicas.org> |www.bicas.org
> > <http://www.bicas.org> | Facebook
> > <http://www.facebook.com/bicascollective/> | Instagram
> > <http://www.instagram.com/bicastucson/>
> >
> > __ __
> >
> > /Through advocacy and bicycle salvage, our mission is to participate in
> > affordable bicycle transportation, education, and creative recycling
> > with our greater Tucson community./
> >
> >
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