5/14/15 01:10 pm - Who To Turn To For Help In A Volunteer Organization
We discussed this at the Board of Directors meeting this week. Our hacker space is experiencing a lot of growth, so not everyone knows everyone any more. We want i3Detroit to be a place where, if someone hassles you, steals from you, or walks all over you without consideration, they can't just vanish with impunity-- one more stranger in a crowd of strangers. Some conflicts can't be resolved unless the group itself takes action.
In a new social circle, sometimes it takes a while to know who you can go to. If you're new, and someone at this facility makes it clear they are not interested in respecting the boundaries you set, you should know exactly who to ask for help.
One of the biggest reasons I became a Board member was to advocate for our members and guests in cases of conflict. I have experience with this in several all-volunteer not-for-profit organizations. The Board has designated me as the point of contact. If I am no longer a Board member after this fall's election, they will choose another person.
An advocate is expected to do the following:
- Be aware of what is in our code of conduct. https://www.i3detroit.org/wiki/Harassme
- Either support our code of conduct, or campaign to change it.
- Never say "well, I just don't want to support our code of conduct."
- Handle private information with discretion on a need-to-know basis.
- Report to the Board and pursue the matter until it is resolved, keeping it consistently moving toward resolution.
- Provide a definite outcome one way or another, to each party who has a stake in the conflict.
- Take personal accountability when (not if) one or more parties to the conflict are not happy with the outcome.
- Maintain some means of reasonable notice to our members and guests, to let them know who they can go to for help.
In order to keep our social circle vibrant, and retain people from a variety of walks of life, there are some situations where this organization can't just leave you to fend for yourself. We must have your back regardless of who mistreated you-- a Board member, officer, warden, or cofounder; a very popular person; or a respected master builder. And our promise to you is no good unless you know about it, so we're telling you.