At our conference this year my affiliate found that as we are experiencing wonderful growth we are also close to reaching the limit of growth we can do with out some administrative assistance and increased capacity. We currently function with a volunteer board made up for wonderful people with full time jobs, families, and other responsibilities beyond our organization like most affiliates. As prone in most volunteer organizations we have a group of workhorse board members and volunteers doing much of the heavy lifting in our organization and we want to be careful not to burn them out as they are all very valuable resources. What seems come up again and again is that to build capacity, grow our impact and further our mission across the state we are at the point of needing an administrator to handle the everyday (and not so everyday) tasks.
This has been our first full year since our state government shuttered the Virginia Office of Environmental Education and we have begun to transition much of the work handled by its staff of 4 full time employees onto the shoulders of our board and committees. This includes our work towards developing an NAAEE accredited certification program for our state, planning the annual Virginia EE Conference for our state, developing and maintaining a resource website, statewide event calender and monthly EE newsletters and finally establishing regional teams across the state. Unfortunately many other programs that were formerly administered by the state office have been abandoned due to lack of resources or our ability to properly devote the energy, time and capital to run those programs. With a paid administrator we might be able to provide them once more.
Over the next few months we are going to be investigating what hiring an administrator might look like for us. This could be someone part-time or someone who is on a stipend until we can organize, solicit and gain more steady funding sources. At first we would need the person to assist with administrative duties both generally for our organization and also duties specific to the development of our certification program which is experiencing a "chicken or the egg" situation as we attempt to move that process forward. This individual would also help our organization navigate the transition of our founding executive committee members to our second generation of board leadership and begin the planning process for next year's annual conference. As we begin this process I wanted to gain some insight to how our co-affiliates have handled this in the past, present, or in the near future.
-If you have an Executive Director or paid administrator what do their responsibilities look like?
-Do you have a job description that you could share from when they were hired or that has been developed in searches?
-Are they full, part-time or contract? What benefits if any are they offered? What was their starting salary range?
-What funders did you go to to fund positions? Any suggestions or success stories?
-Does your organization have a permanent office location or does your staff work remotely? If they have a permanent office where is it housed? How was that decision made?
-Any other suggestions for an organization considering paid staff?
-What kind of mentorships, professional development or other development have you found beneficial for either paid or unpaid staff?
- If you don't have a paid staff how do you maintain a group of reliable and hardworking board/volunteer corps to get all the tasks that need to be done accomplished without burning anyone out?
-What is a reasonable expectation of commitments for an organization to make on it's volunteer board?
Thank you in advanced for any insights you may offer. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any suggestions, clarifying questions or insights that you would like to share either to the public or privately.