Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Organization largely of volunteers

Hello everyone,

my church is looking at innovating its organisational structure, and looking at Holacracy for that. One of the fears is that in an organisation that is mostly run by volunteers, we must be careful about how much time the church asks of them; even monthly meetings are not easy to introduce. 

So: do any of you have examples of orgs running on Holacracy and are composed of almost only volunteers? Or do any of you have experience in helping such an organisation transition to Holacracy?

Thank you!

5 Replies
Margaux
02/09/2017

Hello Konrad,

 

Holacracy is for people working in an Organization for its purpose on a day to day basis. A volunteer working only 1 or 2 days per week is not a real partner and shouldn't be assigned to a role - meetings takes a lot of time already.

A contractor works for another company and is not contributing to the same purpose. We had the experience of both and giving them a role (full authority), including them in governance and tactical meetings doesn't make sense and doesn't work. You can't give full authority to someone external.

The right move would be to assign a partner to a role and then leaving him/her the choice to ask a volunteer or to call a contractor for some projects. He then process tensions directly with the volunteer/contractor.

For instance, I have a graphic design role but I am not especially good in design, I just hire a sub-contractor, deal with it normally. 

 

You can check this thread: ...2#462501715239850322

Jeff Kreh
02/09/2017
Likewise runs holacracy and a great number of volunteers participate. Since so much of holacracy boils down to the maturity needed for voluntary involvement, our volunteers enjoy autonomy in their roles and energize those roles as fully or infrequently as possible. However, we also have some volunteers that choose not to embrace an ongoing role, too. These are a better fit for +Margaux's insight. I'd be happy to discuss specific tensions at your leisure.
Konrad
02/10/2017
Margaux posted:

The right move would be to assign a partner to a role and then leaving him/her the choice to ask a volunteer or to call a contractor for some projects. He then process tensions directly with the volunteer/contractor.

 

Hello Margaux, 

the issue at hand is: there is only one staff “partner” for the entire organisation. The rest are volunteers only (roughly 20 to 30 really contributing, I'd guess – and I am among them, a volunteer). And yes, not burdening them with too many bureaucratic efforts or meetings is entirely in our focus. Yet, at the same time, making sure decisions are made soundly and processes are running smoothly is just as well an interest of ours … 

Margaux
02/10/2017

Well, maybe Holacracy is inappropriate for your organization if there really is only one person really working and not volunteering...

Connie Davis
02/12/2017

Responding above about contractors:

There are many ways of being a contractor and not all contractors work for another firm. Our organization (a non-profit) is made up almost entirely of self-employed contractors but for many of us 60-90% of our work is with the organization that is implementing holacracy. All of the contractors are committed to that organization 's purpose. We are just starting our journey with holacracy and we don't see having roles filled by contractors as a problem. In fact, it is a big help to have things very clearly delineated by roles, domains and accountabilities. 

Our big learning curve will be figuring out how to compensate for participation in governance meetings and core circle member roles, as that is not something that happened in the past. Tactical meetings are akin to project-specific meetings so not quite as unusual. 

We are also an entirely virtual team.

Looking forward to continuing to learn from others!