Joel's Answers to Election Questions for President of MakeICT

In my run for President of MakeICT, I’ve answered all the questions at the link below:

Joel’s Answers to 2018 Election Questions

Hi Joel - good answers and I’m glad you’re running (even though I’m still voting for me :wink: )

On the topic of paying area leads and providing stipends for the board - last September we voted to pay instructors for safety classes, $15/hr. For the busier areas this ends up working out to easily cover their membership fee. My husband is an area lead and gets $200-$300 monthly checks from teaching classes fairly regularly, they’re in the best position to see how to monetize, so I have not heard from many area leads who are concerned about another $25. Also when a member asks me, “why hasn’t the area lead fixed this tool!” I can tell them “because he’s a volunteer just like you paying the same $25/mo just like you, we are all the same, want to crack open the manual and take a stab at fixing this tool?” No one is above my pay grade, I say.

When it came to paying people based on title alone I wasn’t sure what was fair because some assistant area leads do more work than some full on area leads, would you pay the assistant leads too? How about program directors, busy committee leads like security & outreach, or the people with no title who are just there for hours every maker monday doing check-ins and tours or cleaning up? Where would you draw the line?

Reference http://makeict.org/wiki/Contact_Information for the big list of volunteers who would be asking these questions - in theory that’s 8 area leads, 8 assistant leads, 13 committee leads, 9 board positions - it adds up to a lot of dues.

1 Like

It’s really encouraging to see a new member with this level of enthusiasm :slight_smile:

Two things about paid positions, first, board members cannot be compensated for their board service. Secondly, I support paying an Executive Director for ED type work. I think the setup we have now for AL’s is probably the best one. Paying them as staff will certainly change the culture.

You have some big-picture ideas, and vision is important in leadership. Engagement within our community is also important though, and it’s hard to imagine someone so new being a respected and effective leader. How many of our board meetings have you been to? Have you already developed a good sense of how the leadership dynamics work? Would you consider a different position on the board instead?

Last thing: https://github.com/MakeICT/makeict.org - feel free to make pull requests.

  1. On the topic of paying area leads and providing stipends for the board - last September we voted to pay instructors for safety classes, $15/hr.

A: So this should be incorporated into a monthly pay check. (Yes, as a Non-Profit you can pay people without changing the “dynamics” of the space. (Answer to Dom’s “concern”)

  • The area leads are selected to maintain an area, this should fall within their defined duties.
  • I understand not all areas have a safety class
  • Wood Shop’s safety class might be 3 hours but Metal Shop’s might just be one. That’s a part of being an area lead for each area.
  • What an area lead is paid could be adjusted according to their duties in that area. Mainly, because obviously some area leads don’t even show up, while others are there on a constant basis.
  • Side Note: The rules/duties of an Area Lead need to be defined and then enforced. I’ve noticed that some area leads don’t even show up which make me question why there’s even an “Area Lead” for that area in the first place, if that area doesn’t have a “Safety Class” or classes…?

For the busier areas this ends up working out to easily cover their membership fee. My husband is an area lead and gets $200-$300 monthly checks from teaching classes fairly regularly, they’re in the best position to see how to monetize…

Q: MakeICT still makes a % of that check right? As I understand 25%?

Q: So you’re OK with taking a % from your leads for their classes but not paying them for all of their other work outside of the classes?

A: It’s great that they have the ability to make extra money…but that should be a perk of being an Area Lead. If you have knowledge then, hell yeah make money off of it by sharing it, if people are willing to pay you.

  • That shouldn’t be a “reason” for not paying your Area Leads.

Also when a member asks me, “why hasn’t the area lead fixed this tool!” I can tell them “because he’s a volunteer just like you paying the same $25/mo just like you, we are all the same, want to crack open the manual and take a stab at fixing this tool?” No one is above my pay grade, I say.

A: Members are not required to fix anything and shouldn’t be given that responsibility! That’s like saying well, the guy told me he could fix the Semi’s Transmission and gave me $25 to do it…so I let him???

  • That’s what your Area Leads are there for…they should be the only ones responsible to fix something that’s owned by MakeICT…
  • People join MakeICT to be a Member! Not to be suckered into being a volunteer to fix things…
  • If the person is knowledgeable, wants to help and the Area Lead is willing to work with them…then sure go for it…but the responsibilities of fixing MakeICT’s stuff should never be put on a Member!
  • You guy/gals need to re-look at what “Member” and “Volunteer” mean.

When it came to paying people based on title alone I wasn’t sure what was fair because some assistant area leads do more work than some full on area leads, would you pay the assistant leads too?

A: Well, if the Assistant is doing more than the Area Lead, then maybe the Area lead should be downgraded to Assistant and the Assistant move to the Head Area Lead…

  • Just like any other pay structured job, you’d pay them accordingly. Area leads can be replaced, just like anyone else.
  • For those Area leads that don’t do their defined duties aka show up, they’re removed from the position.

How about program directors, busy committee leads like security & outreach, or the people with no title who are just there for hours every maker Monday doing check-ins and tours or cleaning up? Where would you draw the line?

A: Once again…this goes to working out a pay structure for each position and defining their jobs in that position.

This leads into this reference:

big list of volunteers who would be asking these questions - in theory that’s 8 area leads, 8 assistant leads, 13 committee leads, 9 board positions - it adds up to a lot of dues.

A: We’d have to deem what is paid and what is not.

  • Board of Directors - After kind of seeing what others have said - I’m perfectly fine with board members not being paid but you are allowed to “compensate” <-(I think this is the word I was more trying to convey) board members for actual and necessary expenses incurred by a volunteer in connection with the services performed. See it here on the 3 page under “What is a Volunteer”? (See more about this in my other comment below)
  • Committee Leads - I think what’s considered a “Committee” on the page you reference needs to be re-looked at. What you’re calling a “committee” looks more like what should be a paid job.

Non-Paid Committees

  • New building
  • Outreach
  • Scholarships
  • Maker Faire
  • Fundraising
  • Membership and Communities
  • Communications
  • Creator’s Showroom
  • Special Projects
  • Wikibrarian

Paid Positions

  • IT
  • Security
  • Finance

Area Leads - Paid a monthly pay check

MakeICT is a Non-Profit but it doesn’t mean it’s not still a business. If you start treating it like a business, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose your “Culture”, it just means the inside of the engine will run a lot better and the members looking on the outside of the car, well…they get the benefits from it…

Dom, I’ll answer your questions a little later…if I already didn’t up top.

1 Like

As Treasurer, I can say without fear of contradiction that if we were to begin paying salaries, we would not be solvent in the long run without raising our dues and/or substantially increasing our membership. One of the reasons we can survive without outside funding is because the bulk of our work is from volunteers. Last year our net net was under $20K.

Obviously, I’m not up on the finances but maybe that’s something that MakeICT should look into.

  • Raising the membership to a little higher cost.
  • I’m not saying pay everyone $10,000 a year…just something that makes it worth their time…then as you grow, expand on that.

If you have $20,000 from last year then that means your Net would be around $1700 a month after expenses. (Give or Take)

I guess my question is: What is that being used for?

As a Non-Profit don’t you have to do something with that $20,000 extra at the end of the year?

We could start by just comping the main area leads their monthly dues. Some of us have been advocating that for quite some time but the idea never seem to get enough traction with The Board. It would only be a token gesture but an important one nonetheless. However, I wouldn’t be in favor of paying board members. I’m not aware of any other non-profit board that pays it’s board members. In fact it’s not at all uncommon to expect board members to make a minimum donation just to be on the board. I think in general MakeICT is structured more like a club than a non-profit and I think that is one thing that is holding us back.

At various points in the past there has been a push by some members to hire a full time director with a salary of around $60k/yr. I think that would be extremely difficult to make work here for all sorts of reasons. The argument was that a paid director should be able to raise enough money to offset their own salary. It sounds nice, but I actually think it might be the end of MakeICT if we tried to pay a full time director.

Joel, I like the way you are thinking and trying to apply your business experience to MakeICT. It’s just unfortunate you haven’t had more time to get to know some of the particulars of our financials, etc. I’ll bet you could pick it up fairly quickly. Maybe you should consider taking David Springs out to lunch and pick his brain about the current budget, etc.

Curt

1 Like

I’m always happy to do lunch, unless it is some kinda fru-fru, trendy place. My secrets can be plied with tools such as beef, fat, and salt.

1 Like

By default, any leftover money at the end of the year is banked as a cushion, but it could be earmarked, all or in part, as a building fund or for future capital equipment or any of a number of other things we might need to buy or do down the road. Being a non-profit doesn’t mean that we have to spend what comes in, even if it sounds that way. Of course as Treasurer, I don’t decide whether or where to spend our money for the most part. I’m more like the person charged with making whatever the Board decides happen, which should be what the members tell them they want. Certainly there’s much more to it – I have to make sure that we follow the laws that govern our organization, keep accurate records, see that our taxes are filed in a timely manner, etc., but that’s the low-res version.

Joel,
there are important repercussions under Kansas law when Board members receive compensation, even indirectly. Liability protection that is for volunteers of tax-exempt not-for-profit organizations is waived once you compensate them. From: Kansas Association of Insurance Agents

Senate Bill 28 protects only “volunteers” which are defined as officers, directors, trustees or other persons who perform services for the non-profit, tax exempt organization but do not receive compensation, either directly or in-directly for those services.

This protection from liability has been in place since 1987.

There are many other legal and ethical reasons for not compensating Board members of non-profits that are tax-exempt. I have yet to see any bylaws or templates for bylaws for such an organization that does not specifically bar direct or indirect compensation of the Board members.

Mike B

1 Like

@curt.gridley I agree and I’ll have to see if David would like to do lunch…but not at a frilly fru-fru place…lol

That’s something that would help to know, as I’m currently just kind of going off of what I have heard. Non-Profits are way harder because of all the stipulations that come with them and I will admit I’m not 100% familiar as my other businesses are LLCs.

Five For A Change is a Not-For-Profit which is a whole other discussion…

When it comes down to the board getting a stipend, I’m not trying to argue law…I’m actually trying to make sure that I understand whether or not Kansas Laws prevent board members from actually getting a stipend.

Even with that, I guess I should of been using the word compensation? Even then it’s an interesting slope…because who’s to define compensation? (See Below)

@mikeb - I had read a little bit on what you’ve posted but didn’t have much time, once I finally found info, to really read up on it. Your info is way better than what I was reading.

This is the extended version of Mike’s info above:

What is a Volunteer?

The legislature limited immunity to only those officers, directors, trustees, employees and other volunteers receiving no compensation. Under the bill a “volunteer” is an officer, director, trustee or other person who performs services for a “501©” nonprofit organization but does not receive any compensation for such services other than actual and necessary expenses incurred by a volunteer in connection with the services performed. Persons delivering health care services to patients in a medical care facility (i.e., hospital, ambulatory surgical center or recuperation center) are not “volunteers” under the bill.

Now with that, I think what I’ve been trying to convey with the whole “Board getting a Stipend” should possibly be put as the “Board being compensated for actual and necessary expenses incurred by a volunteer in connection with the services performed”.

Now the next question is: What are “Actual and Necessary Expenses”?

Also, I’m ok with board members not getting paid…I just want to define the above questions I have for all of this.

We reimburse anyone who makes an authorized expenditure on behalf of MakeICT, whether they are a Board member or not. For example, suppose the Board had budgeted $20,000 for a new electric bus, and Mike B said he’d pick it up for us in Dallas. He hitchhikes down there, pays $20,000 to the bus dealer in quarters, and then drives it back. He’d turn in his receipt, and I’d write him a check to cover what he spent on our behalf. Kind of an extreme, silly example (Mike’d be using pennies for the full effect), but essentially accurate.

Board members regularly make purchases that are reimbursed by MakeICT. It is usually in cases where it is more convenient for them to pay for a service than it is for me to get involved with setting up an account in order to pay with MakeICT funds directly. More commonly, Area Leads make purchases within their discretionary budget that are reimbursed when they turn in a proper receipt, but we’re talking about Board compensation here. Reimbursement is not compensation, and reimbursing an authorized expense is perfectly legal and proper when clearly documented.

Now the op/ed part:
Now if you’re asking whether we pay them for their gas or mileage to come to Board meetings, or for special Limited Edition MakeICT Board Member Polo Shirts, or anything along those lines, the answer is no. All other considerations aside, MakeICT has really grown up around a volunteer culture, and we take a certain amount of pride in being all volunteer. Karma and all, I guess. At any rate, stipends and mileage would eat into our budget pretty quickly, and might even annoy some of our donors to the point of no longer donating.

I’ll stop here to allow others to pick what I’ve said apart.

2 Likes

That helps out tremendously.

I’m by no means a legal jargon expert and sometimes it’s just easiest for me to understand in the terms that you put it. Thank you for the input as I myself I’m definitely learning.

I’m just the type of person that likes to compensate people as a token of my appreciation for what they do. So sometimes I fight pretty hard for that because I want people to feel appreciated.

So I guess another question would be, would a monthly cookout be appropriate which could include everybody?

Illegal campaigning. Promising grilled foods to the electorate. Standing bylaws article 984, subsection N, category xiii, paragraph 601.

1 Like

LOL, well I must be missing 977 articles somewhere, on the Bylaws, on the wiki…

Actually that paticular bylaws deals with superpoos. The complete bylaws are totally open to everyone, provided they are truly intrested in reading them. That proof is obtained by being elected to the board. So only board members can have access to all the of the bylaws… but anyone can get elected to the board, so anyone can read the bylaws.

Actually I’m kidding about all of that.

That is what a James do.

1 Like

8 posts were split to a new topic: Should we raise dues to recognize volunteers?

I didn’t see any answers to the questions I asked. You wrote a bunch of answers to questions I don’t think anyone asked, but if I missed your answers to my questions, point them out so I can find them.

1 Like

I’ve been answering questions from Kim. I haven’t answered yours yet