As we move forward with our quest to become a non-profit corporation, the next step is the formal adoption of bylaws. We invite all members and interested parties to take a look at our draft bylaws which we plan to formally adopt at our next monthly meeting on November 10th. Here’s my executive summary:
The bylaws of an organization should be a living document that is revised as the organization grows. We’ve drafted these bylaws to help Robot Garden flourish as it is today. As we grow, we will expect to change them.
Looking at other maker(hacker)spaces, we found a lot of different organizational models all the way from a single benevolent dictator for life to all decisions being made by the whole membership base. While we are small and agility is key, a small group of directors (initially Daniel Casner, Andra Keay and Jim Nielan) will have the authority to make decisions for Robot Garden. Each of us three believes in Robot Garden as a community organization, being excellent to each other and will continuously seek input from our members on general direction and specifics. At this time, keeping the decision making group small allows us to operate in timely fashion, keep overheads down and be easily held to account.
You might be surprised to see in the bylaws that “The Corporation shall have no members within the meaning of section 5056 of the California Nonprofit Corporation Law.” This refers very specifically to a legal definition of members who vote on decisions for the organization. We will of course have members in the sense we have been using the term to date and plan to bring many decisions to the membership but as stated above, we feel agility is key for Robot Garden’s near term survival so our members won’t be section 5056 voting members.
If you’re interested in taking an active role in our organization, then please become an Officer. These roles, ie. marshall, community developer, admin, group leader, publicity etc. are a really useful and enjoyable way of being highly involved in helping our garden grow. This is also the pathway to being an official ‘director’ as per bylaws.
If you can’t be as involved in the garden then we also plan to form an advisory board (not to be confused with the official “Board” or “Board of directors” which is made up of the directors as per bylaws) from as wide a range of stakeholders in Robot Garden as practical. The advisory board will serve to provide guidance and strategic help to the directors.
The directors shall behave well
Most of the text of the bylaws is about requiring the directors to conduct themselves well, not putting their own interests ahead of Robot Garden’s etc.
We are putting the bylaws out for comment because we want our community to see what we are doing and raise issues we may not have thought of. Please read the draft carefully and comment if you have thoughts you’d like to share with us before they’re adopted. As always, please be excellent to each other.