Minutes, VS meeting 11 Dec

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Working Group Name: Volunteer Services

Meeting Date/Time: December 11, 2011/1:12PM

Location: Atrium at 60 Wall Street

Meeting Number: 4

Attendees: Ravi, Christine, Patty, Anthony

3.1.1 Preliminaries

Anthony is taking minutes; Ravi is facilitating.

3.1.2 Introductions:

Ravi: I’ve been in the movement for four weeks now. I am in the tech ops, organization and ComCluster working groups. One of my biggest interests is working to increase communication between various groups here at OWS.

Christine: I was here in October, originally—I worked with Info. I was living here but was out of town during and after the raid. I am back now and I want to get people plugged into the movement. Also, I want to get back to working with Info again.

Anthony: I was passively following OWS before there was an occupation; it sounded interesting but I’ve been burned by protest movements before—so I sort of stayed on the sidelines to see how things would develop. I caught Olbermann reading the Declaration of Occupation and was impressed. As a result, I came down to the park to see what was going on. It was beautiful. I cried—I honestly never expected to see something like this in my life. It’s strange. There’s a video of the GA that first night made by Jem Cohen. It’s screening before every film they are showing at IFC right now. I’m in it. Anyway, I just started coming to GA every night and quickly realized that you can’t just go to GA, you need to step up and help out. I got involved with the Part-Time Caucus and Outreach. Sorry, I’m talking too much.

Patty: A friend I work with was arrested during the Brooklyn Bridge march. And that got me down here. Honestly, I have been waiting for years, and two bush administrations. I live on Long Island so it’s sometimes difficult to get here. But I go to the protests and I was almost trampled by a police horse on #N17. I want to do something more than just protest; it’s getting too cold to sit around the park. I have done a lot of coordination with animal rescue over the last 20 years.

Ravi: Alex and Lois can’t make it. And I think Daniel went back home for ten days. Patty you’re on the [nycga VS] group already? (Patty responds in the affirmative.)

3.2.1 Deciding the Agenda

Ravi suggests we all share what working groups with which each of us would like to work more closely. Also, we need to cover the launch of the Harlem Space and some data stuff.

Christine adds general communication concerns and 50 Broadway stuff.

3.3.1 50 Broadway

Christine: The space was donated by an affinity group. We’ve struggled a little bit to get things up and running but as of now most of the kinks have been smoothed out. As part of the office arrangement VS needs to staff the office once every sixteen days.

Some other things: there’s good internet and it’s warm. One more thing, the office needs one or two people from each group to have a passcode to lock up the space each night. Each person will have their own specific passcode. If someone leaves the office a mess we can go back and find out who left it a mess when the space was closed. I live nearby in Lower Manhattan. So how does everyone feel about me being one of the people with a passcode for our group? (Temp check is good.) If you want access to the space, let me know.

3.4.1 Constituent Relationship Management Software

Ravi: I’ve been drafting three forms: one for general information from every WG, another focused on what specific needs each WG has and a third for new volunteers. I’ll put them on Google Groups for further feedback. I want to make sure the way we are doing this is going to work for people and I don’t know if the way we are building these forms is the best way to input info into a database. We may need to get some money from the GA allotment to hire someone to show us how to do this. (Andrew is too busy to handle it right now.) One more thing: this sort of goes into WG liaison item. We’ve been making contact with various groups: Joshua and Johnny with the Kitchen, Jason from housing. At this point, Occupiers are mostly housed and fed and they want to be put to work. Outreach and DA need people. Let’s get on this. …what we are trying to is create—we talked about this last time—a list of what people can do based on their other commitments. We need to get this information so we can match them up with what they are going to be best at.This will be a good way to deepen relationships.

3.5.1 WGs Liaisons

Ravi asks what WGs everyone present is connected with.

Patty is not connected with any WGs.

Anthony is connected mainly with Facilitation, VS and Part-Time. He actually wants to have a conversation with Justin about PT—the group seems to be more sporadic and perhaps lacking focus lately. Anthony is interested in stepping to take a more active role in PT but does not want to step on Justin’s toes.

Ravi: Amy Miller has done an interesting report on intake points at OWS. It’s better possible to consolidate information into one group. Outreach ends up having these big flier-ing movements and info is having trouble setting up a table. She’s done a lot of good work picking this up. Amy’s interest in staying involved in these conversations, I don’t know, but this is something we might be interested in exploring. Maybe if that’s something for Christine and I go to ComCluster with.

Christine wants to step back into info.

Ravi is hooked up with Housing, Tech Ops and Outreach.

Ravi: We want to be respectful of Justin but maybe PT folds in with Volunteer Services.

Christine: So one that I have sort of been talking to this week are SIS and Comfort. Justin [different than previous Justin] is fantastic and is more involved with Finance. SIS needs people some of their challenge is that some occupiers are willing to come and work, but they want to take stuff at the end of their shift. They might benefit from VS. Comfort needs help to.

Patty: How does comfort work now?

Christine: Comfort largely takes stuff to people now. Another thing I was thinking about a lot, I attended a couple of Occupiers meeting this week. I know I was one who pushed software and good e-mail lists. The more we move forward with this the more I realize we need to reach out to people without computers. We need to have someone at churches, shelters each morning to help occupiers link back in.

Ravi: That’s really excellent. A donor has given Tech Ops some money. They are going to be buying netbooks for occupiers. Also, we may use them for an info desk type situation. There’s been talk on the ComCluster list about getting a table. An indication of where I’ve worked is that I tend to be friendly until something that needs to be done isn’t getting done; then I start getting pushy and embarrassing people until shit gets done. Info needs to step up or step out. Netbooks will be available to sign out in the office. I want to see some sort of Info table set up daily in 60 Wall St. I feel this is something that would be really good for people who have this information.

[Anthony mentions that he has tried to make contact with SIS on several occasions to help them out; but it’s never worked out. He says once he figures out what is going on with the transition in Facilitation he can donate six hours to SIS on a Saturday or Sunday.)

At a nearby table a woman with a dog is being harassed by 60 Wall Street’s security personnel.

Patty has gotten up and is interceding on behalf of the dog.

Christine: The civilized way is people try to hide their dog when they are inside and people ignore the dog.

Lull in meeting.

Ravi: I think we’ve gotten some good stuff. I know it’s a pain but can we just put these requests into the form instead of just putting it on the Google Lists?

Christine: I need to stop back by SIS and get their contact information.

Side conversation about interruption with security and the dog.

Christine: Okay I think we’re doing pretty good getting through everything.

Ravi: There’s an announcement about Press wanting to cover the opening of the space. The PR group, but especially Beth—who I am staying with and is awesome—wants to get press there to see that we’re spreading out.

Anthony: Is Lois okay with this?

Christine: Alex says she’s enthusiastic about it. And I will follow up with her later [to verify].

A guy just fell asleep at a table and fell out of his chair; security is on it—nice to know we are well guarded against the threat of yippy dogs and public sleeping.

3.6.1 Communication

Christine: I want to discuss what we’re doing between now and the time when CiviCRM is in place. Should we be sending stuff to other people just to have another set of eyes? A lot of people don’t see stuff until it’s already printed out. More eyes are always a good idea. This is a best practice.

Ravi: I think this is important because stuff moves so fast.

Patty: Plus someone else might really have a great idea.

Christine: The group is a good resource if we use it.

Ravi: Cool. I think that was like everything. So where are you at with the research project on that thing (to Patty). I met Stan (who instituted this) and he’s a really good guy who thinks we should be taking the city for everything we can. I think that’s awesome.

Patty: What kind of database do you have for matching volunteers with needs right now.

Christine: I can quickly show the database of volunteers.

Patty looks over Christine’s shoulders.

Christine: This is the list of volunteers we have now. This is a list of people who can do less than ten hours a week but live in NY. Also, People who don’t live in state but can still do stuff. And also, people who have more than 10 hours per week to give. We have it separated out by that. Once it goes into CiviCRM we can add stuff about skill sets (i.e. IT support, social media). Right now it’s hard to keep track of who is where covering what with this system.

Ravi is reviewing new volunteer input forms with Patty.

Christine: Do we have any word from Tech on when up and running might happen? I’m willing to start using the prototype.

Ravi: Can you create an account for me?

Christine: Yes.

Ravi: Tech gets caught up with their shiny new toys. Sam Boyer, who is part of the Federated GA, gave me the address of the person who created CiviCRM. They are chomping at the bit to help us.

Ryan arrives.

Patty introduces herself.

Ravi: We’re going over volunteer stuff. I was updating people on database stuff. They are all really supportive and want to help us. Oh, Permabank did not launch on Friday; we are going to try to find another way of communicating with WGs. Why tell us, why not just put what you need out there so VS can then fill that need. The lead developer used to work for me. He told me last week, it was going to work. I’m just going to have to tell him we don’t need it. Hopefully, that will light the fire of shame below their buns so they’ll get it done.

Ryan is talking but I can’t really hear him. Mostly to Patty.

Ryan: If time banking can handle the human need, Permabank can come in and address the physical need…..

Side conversations.

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