The below resolution was accepted unanimously via email vote by the Board of the Warmshowers.org on 14 December 2014.
Hi All -
A few weeks ago I floated a proposal “Increasing Warmshowers Income Through Annual Donations”. It generated lots of conversation and a bit of controversy. I believe that we need to go forward here despite the fact that it may cause some controversy.
I would like the Board (Chris Russo, Mark Martin, Alex Rosenblatt, Lou Melini, and Cyril Wendl) to approve or disapprove the plan below as a first step. Each of you please reply with “yes”, “no”, or “please wait for more discussion”. If other members of the Leadership Council have serious reservations, you may reply “please wait, let’s discuss”, and of course we’ll listen, but this is finally in the hands of the Board of Directors.
I propose this plan based on the earlier proposal:
- Establish a paid professional relationship with a nonprofit fundraising specialist to guide us on the fundraising path. (Future fundraising should probably include not just the annual membership but also T-shirt sales and the like, along with other options. It should also be fully aware of the overall health of the community, fairness, and openness to differences around the world.)
- Randy will assume the contract/hourly position of “Executive Director” of the Warmshowers.org Foundation, a paid hourly role. (“Executive Director” is the standard title of the first employee of a nonprofit/charity.) His duties will include all the things he has always done (community development, problem-solving, web development, app development, technical maintenance, security, site administration, etc. The board may choose to redefine this role in the future, especially if we’re successful with this approach.
Randy will bill monthly the Warmshowers.org Foundation $80/hour for his work. Drew (Treasurer) will pay from our bank account the amount of the bill that leaves us with at least $5000 in the account. Randy expects to devote most of his working time to the Warmshowers.org Foundation and bill in the range of $50K in 2015.
Randy will begin building and then deploying a normal “membership support” option on the Warmshowers.org website where people choose a membership level, from “free” to “most popular” $10/year to $100/year.
- Randy will use his paid role in 2015 to dig out of some of the many areas we have a backlog in our community development, website, apps, etc. The Board may direct specific priorities at our annual meeting in January, 2015, and at following meetings.
- With actual money in play here, and with Randy being a board member, activist board oversight, transparency and appropriate Treasurer procedures will be essential.
Speaking personally, I want to express my serious frustration with our inability to move forward on so many things due to lack of resources. Just in the technical area alone we have an overwhelming number of important unaddressed issues that are important to our members. But when you consider the overall goal of a healthy global community of more than 50,000 members, we’ve just outgrown the ability to help it along a bit with volunteer effort on the side. It needs some dedicated support. And I need some income to be able to put in that level of support.
On the SPOF “Single Point of Failure” problem Chris pointed out: The idea of having me start this out is to develop the financial resources so it’s not just me. Also note that we do currently have excellent emergency tech backup with Chris and Kosta.
On expanding our mission: For years have ruthlessly narrowed and maintained our mission of supporting nothing but free hospitality for cycletourists. This has been excellent, because we have barely been able to support that mission. If we are able to extend our resources, we may be able to consider expanding our mission to touring cyclists in the future, and the proposal I made earlier mentioned some areas where this could be interesting. I do not know if we could even get to the point of expanding our focus this year, but if we do, that will be a separate conversation with the board. I hope to raise the issue at the Annual Meeting in January, but don’t expect serious conversation until after that. This proposal is not about expanding the scope of our mission.
Again, if you’re on the board, please reply as above. If you’re not on the board, your input is welcome, but is not a vote.