Wed 7 Oct 2015 10:12PM

Ideas for CCANZ's volunteer structure

MM Matt McGregor Public Seen by 300

This thread is to develop some concrete ideas for how to re-structure the existing volunteer framework. These ideas will feed into a proposal for the next advisory panel meeting, currently scheduled for late November.

To summarise, in general terms, the conversation so far:
- CCANZ developed volunteer guidelines, which carved out clear but conservative boundaries as how volunteers could represent themselves.
- Some folks felt that these guidelines didn't do an adequate job of either recognising or enabling volunteers.

- The tenor of the conversation within the CCANZ Advisory panel (minutes to come, sorry) was that they needed some concrete ideas on how to move forward.

- The path forward will need to take into account that we are hosted by another organisation.
- At the same time, we also need to take into account the scale of the advocacy and outreach challenge ahead of CCANZ. We need to enable open licensing conversations in thousands of organisations, and will need plenty of help to do this.

For anyone who missed it, or wants to refresh themselves on what was discussed, the volunteer structure discussion on the cc-nz email list can be found in the web archive (thanks to our hosts OnlineGroups.net).


Matt McGregor Wed 7 Oct 2015 10:14PM

This won't be a total solution, though @fabianakubke suggested a system of badges to recognise folks who do plenty for CCANZ. If we can find a lean way to do this, that doesn't require a heap of admin, this could be a piece of the puzzle.


Matt McGregor Wed 7 Oct 2015 10:19PM

Alongside the badges idea, there is also scope for folks to have more formal volunteer positions. For example, there could be projects that are outside the scope of staff to lead, but could be led by someone in the community. If we can sort out any of the legal issues - i.e. whether or not we'd need signed agreements, etc - then this could potentially led to more formal recognition, like an email address, title, etc. Folks could commit to doing 5 hours (say) per month on this or that project (eg. working with a few local schools, contacting musicians, working with a university department, or writing new resources).

If I wasn't working for CCANZ directly, I'd probably be keen for something like this. It's just an idea at present, though. Keen to hear thoughts from others.


Danyl Strype Thu 8 Oct 2015 8:04AM

As I said in the email discussion, despite these more formal volunteer roles being vaguely akin to internships, I think that's fine. As long as the time commitment is kept small, and loyal volunteers get preferential consideration for any paid roles that come up. Once the work on my book is finished, I would be interested to take on such a formal volunteer position, working on projects in the Arts and Culture sector.


Matt McGregor Fri 9 Oct 2015 1:20AM

Yep - I think we (i.e. folks who want to grow the commons, not just CCANZ staff) need a heap of people making small committments to scale the work. Everyone is obviously busy, though many people I speak to are happy to approach a few local organisations.

Let's see if anyone else is interested in chipping in. Also happy to hear any other ideas for how to approach this.


Matt McGregor Wed 18 Nov 2015 12:57AM

Apologies for the lack of progress here - there was no decision made at the last panel meeting, and I haven't been able to flesh out these plans yet to enable them to do so in any more detail.

On the agenda for 30 November is to discuss whether or not to add a community representative to the panel. While all reps are volunteers and from the community at present, this more defined position will ensure we stay transparent and open, and keep issues like this front and centre.

More broadly, it's on my to-do list for the next month to:

  1. Determine precisely what kinds of frameworks we need to have, as dictated by our legal responsibilities and responsibilities to our hosts. That way we have a good base line for the conversation going forward.

  2. Propose in more detail some formal positions for volunteers, while maintaining the more informal, decentralised network that is currently growing.


Matt McGregor Tue 15 Dec 2015 10:59PM

Apologies this has taken so long.

The revised draft volunteer page is here: https://etherpad.net/p/CCANZ_Volunteers
The revised draft volunteer guidelines are here: https://etherpad.net/p/CCANZ_Volunteer_guidelines

Headline changes:

  • we have created a new category of volunteer - working title 'project volunteer' - for those who can commit ~5 hours per month. For this category, we need a signed agreement, but can offer an optional cc.org.nz email address.

  • we've deleted / softened some of the language, and given a better explanation of what we're after. We've also made it clear that you don't need to volunteer to grow CC in New Zealand.

  • Finally, we've reworded some of the guidelines, and deleted a few erroneous points. This probably won't entirely answer some of the feedback earlier, though we need to retain language restricting the legal representation of CCANZ.

Specifically on the guidelines, we've changed this:
As a volunteer, you won’t be speaking on behalf of CCANZ – rather,
you’ll be working with us to advocate for and implement open licensing
across New Zealand. Volunteers are not agents of CCANZ or OERF and
cannot bind or speak for either of them, unless otherwise directed.

To this:
Volunteers should represent themselves as volunteers for Creative
Commons Aotearoa New Zealand. Volunteers are not agents of CCANZ or
OERF and cannot bind or speak for either of them, unless otherwise

And deleted this:
Volunteer activities will be coordinated by CCANZ staff. Volunteers
will be expected to report back to CCANZ, so we can keep track of our


Matt McGregor Tue 12 Jan 2016 12:26AM

While we wait to see if anyone has any feedback on this, I have a question: would it be worth replacing the 'fill out a form to volunteer' page of our website with a link to this Loomio group?

Pros: cuts out the middle-people; helps grow the community.
Cons: some people may want to volunteer without having to announce it on a public forum.


Danyl Strype Thu 28 Jan 2016 5:59AM

I just want to acknowledge the responsiveness that Matt and the CC ANZ Advisory Panel have brought to this discussion. It doesn't appear that many people want to speak publicly about the issues around volunteering for CC ANZ (either on cc-nz or here) but I hope that our community has taken the opportunity to share their thoughts directly with Matt and the Panelists. I like the idea of having a Panelist whose focus is community engagement, but I wonder if there's some way to have this person nominated by the community, rather than self-selected, or selected by the Panel? For example, I would nominate Hamish for this role, if he is willing.

I think it would be good to offer both a public option (join Loomio) and a private option (fill out this form) on the same page. The best of both worlds! It would be useful to then track how many people go each way, and what sort of output CC ANZ gets from their volunteer time. I imagine people who want the more staff-directed style of volunteering implied by the original guidelines will be more likely to take the private option, while those who want to step up as project leaders for our community will be happy to announce themselves in public on Loomio.


Matt McGregor Sun 31 Jan 2016 11:00PM

Thanks @strypey.

Not sure if this is quite what you're suggesting, but the panel did consider the option of have this as a 'representative' role - I even used that word when framing the issue - but we immediately ran into the obvious issue: representative of whom? CCANZ isn't a membership organisation, and our community is a large but rather loose and informal network. This isn't to discount the idea - it's one I really like - it's just that we don't have that structure at the moment.

Having said that, nominations from the community are welcome (as long as the nominee is keen).

I should note that the position is voluntary, unpaid and still relatively low-committment - the onus to keep up the engagement and openness remains with Elizabeth and I (or whoever fills our seats).