MM 2018: Form a committee to explore ways to significantly grow the organization to a more sustainable size


Currently, with a membership of about 800 and a budget of about $125,000 , we simply do not have the scale to properly pay staff to tend to our infrastructure, much less to carry on the movement building work specified by our mission as the fundamental reason for our existence.

We need to grow to at least 2500 members to have the budget needed to take us where we need to be.

Formally converting to a coop will help bring us closer to the movement, which will help with recruitment.

However, to truly grow the organization we have to acknowledge that our technology, while mostly stable and reliable, is prone to periods of unpredicatable slow downs and random outages, which is giving us a reputation as having unsuitable technology for serious organizing. We will never experience significant growth until we address this shortcoming.

Some ideas this committee would consider include:

  • Place default resource caps on most major resources and provide a price sheet for organizations who wish to pay more for more resources.
  • More aggressively turn off services for members who do not pay
  • Identify organizations to recruit and assign to organizers to follow up
  • Identify new communities to recruit and develop a communications plan to reach them
  • Find ways to allocate signficantly new resources for new hardware.
  • Re-organize our infrastructure to be more flexible and more effectively use the hardware we have
  • Explore the possibility of merging with other similar organizations
  • Explore new services (such as private Nextcloud instances)

Actualmente, con una membresĂ­a de alrededor de 800 y un presupuesto de alrededor de $ 125,000, simplemente no tenemos la escala para pagar adecuadamente al personal para que atienda nuestra infraestructura, y mucho menos para llevar a cabo el trabajo de construcciĂłn de movimientos especificado por nuestra misiĂłn como la razĂłn fundamental para nuestra existencia

Necesitamos crecer al menos a 2500 miembros para tener el presupuesto necesario para llevarnos a donde necesitamos estar.

La conversión formal a una cooperativa nos ayudará a acercarnos más al movimiento, lo que ayudará con el reclutamiento.

Sin embargo, para que la organizaciĂłn crezca de verdad, debemos reconocer que nuestra tecnologĂ­a, si bien en su mayorĂ­a es estable y confiable, es propensa a perĂ­odos de desaceleraciĂłn imprevisibles e interrupciones aleatorias, lo que nos da la reputaciĂłn de tener una tecnologĂ­a inadecuada para una organizaciĂłn seria. Nunca experimentaremos un crecimiento significativo hasta que abordemos esta deficiencia.

Algunas ideas que este comité consideraría incluyen:

  • Coloque lĂ­mites de recursos predeterminados en la mayorĂ­a de los recursos principales y proporcione una hoja de precios para las organizaciones que deseen pagar más por más recursos.
  • Desactivar más agresivamente los servicios para los miembros que no pagan
  • Identificar organizaciones para reclutar y asignar a los organizadores para el seguimiento
  • Identificar nuevas comunidades para reclutar y desarrollar un plan de comunicaciĂłn para alcanzarlas.
  • Encuentre formas de asignar recursos significativamente nuevos para hardware nuevo.
  • Reorganizar nuestra infraestructura para que sea más flexible y use más eficazmente el hardware que tenemos.
  • Explorar la posibilidad de fusionarse con otras organizaciones similares.
  • Explorar nuevos servicios (como instancias privadas de Nextcloud)


It sounds like what you’re saying is the org is caught in a pickle. You can’t grow without improving the service. And you can’t improve the service without the resources that come from growth.

So whoever works on this committee needs to create a plan that could bounce back and forth - a little bit of growth, a little bit of improvement, repeat. (That description makes it sound easy but…)


A pickle indeed. At the moment, through volunteer labor, we are significantly re-designing our software infrastructure to make things more solid, but the job will never be complete without some cash to purchase additional hardware.


I think it’s partly “improved service” but not completely. We recruit primarily through our political work and there is a problem there. Our movement doesn’t see technology as strategically central to its work and so joining MF/PL isn’t a political necessity. The amount of movement support and respect for our work goes way way beyond our actual membership.
In fact, ironically, I think our service is viewed as superior in terms of security and the attention we give members’ tech issues. But the problem is: why should anyone move all their data to a new server when it’s fine where it already is. In short, there is no political impetus to do that.
I think the key corrective is work pushing the political/strategic thinking. I don’t know how to do that but this is where my work is concentrated and I’m pretty sure this is a significant part of the problem.


Perhaps one task of the committee would be to come up with a list of possible resources that could be called upon in the process of supporting the growth.