Hey,

Many topics covered here :)

1. Paid vs. unpaid: I don't know of the legal situation, but I always felt
that for a NGO it is better to have a volunteer board. Especially for us as
our movement is built thanks to volunteers. I fear it would slightly hinder
our message if trustees were paid. But, when we need a specific expertise,
then we can pay for it. But not as a trustee, as an expert helping us on a
specific matter;

2. Time comitment. So on that, we are actively working on trying to reduce
the mandatory time board members have to allocate to WMF. Goal is between
this year and next year to lower it down to what we benchmarked as average
(and I can't find the number again, I'll dig into that). That work started
after a discussion with Guy on the fact that the time comitment was so high
we migh scare away high profiles. So working to get mandatory board time
down.
But there's also "non-mandatory" time comitment. I can only speak for me,
but right now, it takes me from 2h in the day up to 6h, almost everyday. I
try to have Sundays when I don't work (either for my job or wikimedia). In
that I do include reading (scanning for some mailing lists) emails.

Right now, I think that the most complicated thing to handle is travel
times as you need to take almost a week off every time we travel abroad.
But until we invent teleportation (that would be super cool), I can't see a
way to change that.

3. Staff support to the board : We already have some. First, as the
treasurer and secretary roles are filled by staff members, it unburden
board members a lot. On top of that, we also benefit from support from each
department on a needs basis. Travels are taken care of by staff, I'm
working on slides now, I could ask the communication department to help me
on that. Anna and Michelle work a lot with Natalia on board recruitement.

To be fair, staff does a lot of heavy lifting for us already.

What is true however is that we don't have one personn fully assigned to
support the board. But I'm not sure it is needed right now. That might be a
discussion worth having.

4. Appointed seats "quality": yes we are looking for great board members.
And that is also why we need more time than one could expect.



Christophe HENNER
Chair of the board of trustees
chen...@wikimedia.org
+33650664739

twitter *@schiste*        skype *christophe_henner*



On Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 3:52 AM, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi James,
>
> Two points:
>
> 1. Intrinsic motivation, at this point, appears to be inadequate for
> increasing the population of the Wikimedia volunteer community. I am
> skeptical that we should rely on the same mechanism which isn't working in
> the volunteer community to fill slots on the WMF Board, which also seems to
> be struggling to fill its ranks.
>
> 2. I think that there's some grey between fully intrinsic and fully
> extrinsic motivation. For example, there are a number WMF employees to
> which WMF pays $100,000+ compensation packages. Yet we don't complain that
> their motivations are extrinsic and incompatible with the Wikimedia
> mission. WMF pays them that level of compensation to encourage them to stay
> with WMF instead of working for another organization (probably a for-profit
> one) which would likely pay them similar levels of compensation. It seems
> to me that if WMF is struggling to attract the quantity and quality of
> Board members that it needs, then compensation is a reasonable option to
> consider.
>
> Responding to Pete: although it's unusual for nonprofit board members to be
> paid, as far as I can see the practice isn't forbidden. I imagine that WMF
> Legal could provide guidance about what is and isn't allowed. Whether
> whether it's allowed and whether it should actually happen are, of course,
> two different questions. A resource that I find instructive is
> https://www.asaecenter.org/resources/articles/an_plus/
> 2015/december/should-board-members-of-nonprofit-
> organizations-be-compensated,
> which provides a list of pros and cons for providing compensation to Board
> members. One of the points that they make is along similar lines as Lane's:
> that providing compensation could increase the diversity of candidates. A
> point that I think is also worth making is that if Board members are
> compensated then expectations should be proportionately greater for their
> performance and attendance to Board matters; I don't want anything like a
> repeat of the situation that happened with Lila in which the WMF Board
> seems to have been asleep at the wheel. Given that current Board members
> seem to be struggling with their workloads, I think that exploring the pros
> and cons of compensating WMF Board members is worth serious consideration.
>
> I like the idea of the Board having its own staff separate from the ED.
> This would be similar to how legislative bodies are supported by their own
> staff which is separate from the executive branch. If this kind of support
> would be adequate to address the problems of Board recruitment (which I
> doubt) then I'd say to go for it. It might be worthwhile exploring this
> option in tandem with exploring the option of compensating Board members.
>
> Pine
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