Social Contract to Volunteers

TBAG Social Contract to Organizers *RATIFIED*

This is our social contract to people who volunteer to organize things. It outlines what we absolutely will do, what we absolutely won’t do, and what we may do. This was created in the hopes that organizers have a pleasant experience dealing with this organization, and that they can be confident in their role, know what expectations are each way, and be free from unpleasant surprises.

The organization model is essentially a board of directors, team leads appointed by the board, and team members comprised of volunteers. Many organizer positions in TBAG are temporary, limited in scope to a project, while others are ongoing. When a role other than those listed in the charter as requiring a vote is vacant, any board member may appoint a willing person to that role or claim it themself.

Primary communication is through Basecamp. We request that you use Basecamp to maintain todo lists, deadlines, and discussions to organize volunteers working under you. Not everyone likes Basecamp (and Basecamp doesn’t like everyone), but this gets rid of the need for status reports and managers. It also allows project managers to come and go without the organization losing track of resources such as volunteers. If you prefer not to use Basecamp, please provide equivalent details to the President or verbally to the board.

We will keep an org chart up to date for your reference as you do your work. Some contacts will be aliases, such as or “companies” on Basecamp you can pull into discussions or assign things to. Other contacts will be individual people. You have a lot of freedom to pick artists, volunteers, and various other things, but other resources are controlled by positions or teams, such as social media. The job descriptions in the org chart make it clear where an individual or group is in charge of something and related things must be channeled through them. For example, anyone may have T-shirts made if they have budget approved for it, but the prteam has final say on what makes it in to the newsletter. Feel free to ask around if you’re not sure who to talk to about any given thing.

When you take on your position, a board member will be appointed as your primary contact. You have input as to who this is. You may also ask any other board member to take over that role if you feel your working relationship is not productive with your current contact. Should the board have a concern about your work, it will be the exclusive job your point of contact to talk to you about it. Any other comments from volunteers, the board, ex-board members, or the community at large are merely suggestions.

You don’t have to talk to anyone you don’t want to. There’s a saying that “people join organizations; they quit individuals”. TBAG used to be so small that we were all basically friends. We’re too large now to expect that, but we can still try to give people a pleasant experience. There are three exceptions to not having to talk to people: If your position requires you to report to the board, then people may ask you questions at the board meeting. If you’re in charge of managing something you don’t have a lot of experience with, we will assign you a mentor, and you are expected to work closely with that person. Your mentor is different from your primary contact. Your job description may also state you report directly to the person in a given role. Otherwise, just keep your Basecamp up to date.

If you’re obligated to report to the board, you will be added to the TBAG Board Basecamp (please work with us to make sure this happens) and you will notified of meetings. You’ll be allowed to speak before board members and then are free to leave. Board members may ask questions and make recommendations. These recommendations are merely suggestions unless the board forms a majority consensus, in which case it is a concern about your work, as above, and you should work with your point of contact to find a resolution.

The board, in its sole discretion, may hire and replace organizers. However, we will work to first communicate concerns through your point of contact or at board meetings where you are present. Especially if a project has a deadline, we don’t see activity on Basecamp, and we feel that someone else has more time available to give to a project, we may ask someone to act in that role in your place.

Many projects are open ended or have no particular deadlines and may be worked on now and then with little urgency. Others, the board may deem to be time sensitive and the board may form a consensus to change coordinators as necessary to be confident of deadlines. In general, we really want to work with you, but we reserve the right to make changes to roles. We also reserve the right to form a consensus and add help to your team if we feel that best gets things moving. Again, we will try to only do this after concerns are voiced through your point of contact.

You do not have a boss. No one may order you to do anything not specifically outlined in your position description. If the board has concerns about your work that cannot be resolved through the person who is your point of contact with the board, the board’s only recourse is to vote to take you off of the position. The president may also issue a stay on you doing your assigned role until the board can resolve the matter.

You have input on your job description and may redefine your role. Your primary point of contact on the board should bring any significant changes to your job position to the board for approval.

Beyond your primary contact, the President of the organization is always available for any conflict resolution.

It will be considered a violation of TBAG spirit, policy, and social contract for anyone with a role in the organization to insult, intimidate, threaten, or harass anyone while doing TBAG duties or representing TBAG. Likewise, those involved with TBAG will not discriminate based on ethnicity, gender, religion, gender identity, or sexual preference. Persons of varying ability and age will be accommodated to the best of our ability and not discriminated against when able to be accommodated. The board reserves the right to take steps including removing people from roles in the organization as it deems necessary in order to maintain an open, accepting environment.