wiki:strategic_plan_2007-08

Version 1 (modified by Jamie McClelland, 12 years ago) (diff)

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PROPOSAL

Overview

The goal of this plan is sustainability. Sustainability has to be broadly defined - including finances, labor, outreach, politics. However - every activity we do should be directly tied to building our sustainability as an organization.

This proposal is broken into two sections: themes and projects.

Themes

  • Labor - Currently, we do not pay for any labor (Jamie gets a $200/month stipend to cover health insurance). While organizing members to volunteer should always remain a core part of May First/People Link, in order to grow and continue to build a solid political and technical infrastructure, we have to start paying staff. The projects below highlight some of the tech and non-tech work that we'd like to fund.
  • Leadership - Our attempts at developing leadership within the organization have been up to now exclusively focused on technologists. In order to be sustainable we need to both continue that work (evaluate it, make changes, and take it to the next level) and we need to develop non-techie leadership among our organizational and individual members. Our current techies and the general pool of techie leadership does not represent the diversity of our membership. Being sustainable in a diverse movement means building a representative leadership. We also need to learn how to work through conflicts in our existing leadership - conflicts involving racism, sexism, classism - all of which figure prominently in society but particularly in technology work.
  • Fundraising - While we still stand behind the idea of membership dues being the primary source of revenue for the organization, we need to explore all other avenues of funding, particularly as a way growing to a point where, due to economies of scale, we will be able to do more even as we have more support and infrastructure needs due to increased membership. We should consider all fundraising opportunities (particularly foundations) as a means of funding all projects described below.
  • Collaboration - May First/People Link has made little effort to build alliances with other similar organizations (similar in terms of hosting providers and similar in terms of politics). This is a hugely untapped potential and could have a big impact on our sustainability. What's our role in this ecosystem? We also cannot and will never be able to handle the amount of requests for paid/consultant development work. Managing those requests is critical to our growth and sustainability. We need to build networks of people who can do the programming and application development work.

Projects

  • Business Plan - The organization is much more than the bottom line. But there is no organization without cash. This project will produce a concrete business plan that includes a compreshensive analysis of our current income and new membership rates, projections for the kind of growth we need in order to pay salaries, and a plan for how to incrementally grow, with target numbers and plans for evaluation.
  • Membership development - We need two related membership plans:
  • Developing existing members - we need to be regularly contacting our members, both individually via site visits (to discuss what we're doing and to find out what Internet related organizing activity they are doing) and via meetings and workshops. What do we want from members besides $200/year? How can our members' members participate in the organization?
  • Concrete plans for adding new members - we need to pro-actively recruit new members. We should be asking ourselves: who are the individuals and organizations that are not members but are most likely to join? What characteristics do they share? How do we reach them? What will convince them to come over? Who will be the easiest to bring over and support?
  • Internet Rights Campaign - The Internet Rights workshop was very successful at the social forum and is a great opportunity to build with other similar organizations. It is could be funded, enabling us to hire an organizer (not necessarily a techie) - who could develop an organizing branch of May First/People Link. In short, I would envision a 4 - 5 city, one year project in which we organize a workshop in each city to mimic the Internet Rights workshop we did at the USSF. Part of the prep work could include: getting all hosting providers to agree to uphold the Internet Rights, getting all tech consultants to sign on to it, encouraging all Internet participants to demand that their hosts and consultants sign on to it.
  • Technology projects - We should be prioritizing the tech projects that will best support our new member development and organizational sustainability. Some of them could include:
  • Openid (single sign on system) - this is a new technology that is beginning to gain a lot of ground. It allows you to have one login on the Internet that can be used anywhere. It is a "distributed" system - so anyone can setup a server to provide this login. We should do that for our members.
  • Public support/ticket system - We need a more professional system for handling support requests. In addition - we can envision this very differently than other providers, by making it public and by using it to track other, non-tech projects. By doing both of these things, we can model the opportunitities for transparency offered by the Internet, which will also provide new opportunities for people to get involved.
  • Backup options for individuals - This is something we can provide relatively cheaply and is seriously lacking with other providers.
  • Central Email/Calendar system for all members enabling everyone to share their calendars and data with any other member of their choosing (Horde). This project really distinguishes MFPL from corporate providers.
  • Design overhaul (web site, control panel, etc.)