At the heart of our governance model is the idea that everyone who is part of the P2PU community should be empowered to participate in the governance of the organization. The purpose of these guidelines is to create a firm basis for that intention, both documenting policies that we have arrived at in the past and projecting our principles of fairness, kindness, inclusivity, and trustworthiness towards future decision-making. The guidelines herein should not be read as a static rule book, but a generative document that grounds our thinking as a community.
P2PU engages individuals at various classifications of interest, responsibility, and expectation. We are constantly striving to be as open as possible to capture the enthusiasm and motivation of the widest, most diverse audience, while maintaining a strategic, mission-driven voice across all of our work.
Board of Directors (Summarized from P2PU Bylaws)
The Board, comprised of 4-12 individuals, is responsible for the overall strategy and long-term sustainability of the organization. The Board is responsible for advising on and and making decisions that have broad implications or liabilities for P2PU, such as overall strategy, in-principal litigation, new program investment, new positions, or budget shortfalls. The Board has fiduciary duties to ensure that monies are spent in line with an agreed annual budget and the decisions taken at each board meeting. The bylaws of P2PU require an annual Board meeting, however P2PU currently strives to hold six virtual meetings per year.
The term of each board member is two year, and no board member may serve more than four consecutive terms. However, they may be re-elected to the Board after a one year absence. Additional stipulations of the Board, including nominations, removal and resignation, and the requirements of Board meetings can be found in P2PU’s bylaws and the amendments to the bylaws.
The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee is a subcommittee of the Board charged with interfacing with the team on matters that do not require full board involvement. Many issues, including hiring, setting open salaries, and resolving conflict can be decided by the Executive Committee. Depending on the issue at hand, a full Board vote, based on the Executive Committee recommendation, may sometimes be required.
Board Officers (Summarized from P2PU Bylaws)
The officers of P2PU are an Executive Director, a Treasurer, a Company Secretary, and any additional officers approved by the Board. The duties of each officer are outlined in P2PU’s bylaws. Any number of offices may be held by the same person, except that neither the secretary nor the treasurer may serve concurrently as either the Executive Director or the Chairperson of the Board. If there is no Executive Director, the chairperson of the Board shall retain the powers and duties of the Executive Director.
As of February 2017, the officers are: Chairperson (Delia Browne), Executive Director (Philipp Schmidt), and Secretary (Carl Ruppin).
A team member is an employee, contractor, or volunteer who has been onboarded into P2PU’s governance and salary model. Team members maintain a good deal autonomy over their work, and are responsible for setting their own goals in consultation with the rest of the team and Board. Each team member contributes to certain governance responsibilities, which include finance, fundraising, communications, marketing, HR, and Board relations. The team is expected to meet on a weekly basis to discuss governance issues, and all major decision points should either be met by consensus or elevated to the Board.
The mode (contractor or employee) of team members’ involvement with P2PU is not a reflection on her or his importance to the organization. We strive to treat employees and contractors similarly, to the extent allowed by legal and regulatory constraints.
P2PU may contract consultants or hire interns to engage with P2PU for a specific amount of time towards a specific project or goal. In the case of consultants, there should be a clear case as to why the work should be done by somebody who is not a team members. In the case of interns, there should be a clear mutual interest for P2PU and an individual.
P2PU supports a robust community of volunteers, many of whom work with P2PU as part of their employment or studies as a different institution. Community members are invited to be as active in the organization as possible, but they do not receive remuneration for their work with P2PU. As an organization, P2PU strives to maximize the participation, opinion, and contributions of volunteers.
How we work
We use 9-5 local time as a general reference for working hours, but there is a great deal of flexibility, as we are more concerned with getting the job done and making sure we’re staying connected to our colleagues and partners. If team members find themselves with less than 40 hours/week of work, they should speak up, as there may be opportunities to take on new responsibilities or reduce workload for a period of time. We work hard, and we trust that our teammates are working hard too.
There are a number of tools and processes that we use to collaborate and remain transparent:
- Annual Meeting: At least once per year we take a few hours to talk about our strategy, to make sure that we are all on board with our current strategy and progressing towards our goals. Whenever possible, we try do this face-to-face, usually surrounding an existing conference or project commitment that can bring as many team members and Board members together as possible.
- Board Meetings: Team members will have a brief allotment of time to provide an update or ask questions to the Board during each Board meeting. They are encouraged to seek out Board member and community consultation outside of this time, as well.
- Work in Progress: Every six weeks, the team meets to set priorities for a six-week work cycle. This is designed to bridge long-term strategy with daily executive. Once a week, we meet to track our progress within the current WIP cycle. This is an opportunity to prioritize tasks and identify issues that we need to resolve.
- Stand Up: We use Slack to share daily or weekly updates on what we’ve completed, what we’re working on, what we need help on. The stand up is framed around the Work In Progress.
We believe that people should be fairly compensated for the work they do, and that our compensation model should reflect a holistic view of our team. As such, the salary model is decided on collaboratively by the team, and approved by the Board. Our current salary model is comprised of four elements: a base salary, a location adjustment, a years-of-service bonus, and an adjustment for social costs depending on whether the team member is classified as an employee or consultant. Additionally, our model stipulates that nobody should earn more than twice as much as anybody else.
There is an annual salary review in November or December of each year to affirm the model and allow team members or Board members to advocate for any changes, to be voted on by the Board. The process for this review is as follows:
- Talk through the open compensation model as a team, identify what we need to address, and decide what we need to send to 3rd party (such as Board member) for review.
- 3rd party consolidates different suggestions and makes a proposal to team.
- Team has a second meeting to discuss the proposal and forwards the proposal to the Board.
- Board approval or send back to team with comments.
Outside of that annual review, there are a few events that can trigger ad hoc adjustments:
- If somebody moves, it is contingent on them to update their cost of living. Change to their salary is effective the first full month employee is in a new place.
- When an employee hits a biennial anniversary and is eligible for a service round increase, it’s their responsibility to make it an agenda item at the following Board meeting for discussion and approval by the Board.
In or about September of each year, the Treasurer and team will put forward a draft budget for the next year. At or before the last Board meeting of each year, the Board should approve a budget for the following year. Approving a budget grants the team approval to incur the expenses in the budget with variances up to 5% per line item, unless such variance will reduce cash on hand to less than $50,000. The team should notify the Treasurer of such variations.
Any larger variances or not previously approved expenses must be approved in advance by a simple majority of the Executive Committee, which shall be recorded in email and minuted at the next board meeting. An exception is made for expenses below $250 that are deemed important by the team but not previously approved by Board. These can be approved by the team and highlighted in the next Board meeting.
The team and Board will seek to identify the need for new hires during the annual strategy and budget discussions. If funds are available or can be reasonably identified and the Board approves, the team will draft a job description. The board must approve the job status (team member vs. non-team member), job title, general responsibilities of the role, and salary range before the job description is made public. Once a job description goes out, the team is responsible for identifying candidates for interview and conducting first round interviews. We publicly announce all positions, rather than hiring exclusively through existing networks, to obtain a wide a field of candidates as possible.
Hiring Team Members
Once 3-4 candidates are selected by the team, the application packages and notes are passed on to the Board. Interview packages should include:
- Cover letter
- Portfolio (if applicable)
- Proposed salary and justification (mapped to open salary model)
- Interview notes
The Board will then form a subcommittee of at least three Board members to interview the final candidates and review the open salary-model proposal assembled by the team. The Board will confer with team members and seek consensus, but ultimately it is the Board who has final say as to who to hire and and at what salary level.
Hiring Non-Team Members/Contractors
If funds and a job brief have been allocated for a contractor (non-team member) by the Board, then the team can proceed to hire whoever they see best fit without additional Board approval. In this case, the pay rate should be negotiated between the team and the contractor to ensure the task can be completed on time.
The goal of the onboarding process is to both welcome the new hire into the organization and help them take ownership in their role. P2PU maintains a Trello Board which includes various elements of the onboarding process. The first 90 days of employment will be an introductory period for new team members and P2PU to get acquainted with one another. New hires should not take on a leadership role in governance until at least 90 days have elapsed since the the hire date.
We believe that a well rested team executes better and it is important for us to know that team members have the opportunity to tune out and switch off. We also believe that team members should have the autonomy to set their own schedules, while remaining responsible to the demands of the organization. Each team member is entitled to 15 days of leave per year (accrued at a rate of 1.25 days/month) plus 10 public holidays, aligning with the jurisdiction of residence. In addition, P2PU is closed the week between Dec 25 and January 1 (inclusive) and staff are not required to work that week. In most cases, leave days can not be accrued.
Team members should notify the team as early as possible of their leave plans and should update the leave register accordingly, which feeds into the shared calendar. Additionally, if team members plan to take a leave of longer than one week, they should plan to discuss this with the rest of the team at least one month ahead of time to ensure that operations can continue in their absence.
P2PU recognizes that there are additional types of leave that team members may want to take, including maternity/paternity leave, bereavement leave, and unpaid leave for other reasons. Any extended leave of greater than two weeks should be discussed with the team and elevated to the Board for feedback/input since each of these situations is unique.
The distributed nature of our team and wide reach of our audience means that working for P2PU will involve some travel. All travel should demonstrate clear value for P2PU, such as executing project work, speaking at an event, or meeting new funders or partners. Incidental travel, side projects, and personal appearances are not eligible for approval. Furthermore, approval of travel does not necessarily mean approval of expenses.
As a small nonprofit organization, we are committed to using our funding responsibly and expect team members to minimize costs whenever possible. All travel expenses must be paid directly from project funds, or else approved by the Board separately.
Process for approval
If a team member wishes to travel, they should estimate costs in the expense spreadsheet and send an email to the team seeking approval for the trip. If the trip is not directly tied to project work (e.g. flying to a workshop we’ve been paid to execute), then the team member should make a case for why this travel is important and justify the costs. A “yes” from all team members is required before signoff is possible. P2PU will cover costs for the following expenses:
- Travel: P2PU will cover air and ground transportation for business related travel (conferences, meetings, events with partners and funders, face-to-face meetups). P2PU expects all of its employees to use web-based price comparison services to research the best prices for rates and to choose low-cost tickets whenever possible.
- Travel to/from airports: Travel to and from airports is encouraged to be on public transportation or service operators (e.g. Super Shuttle). We don’t intend to pay for private transfer, unless it’s the only/most sensible option ( (e.g. it would require excessive time, or during very late or early hours).
- Accommodations: Staff will stay in moderately priced accommodation, not to exceed $150/night (and usually much less). P2PU encourages employees to use homestays with friends and family when it is convenient. When using homestays, staff may be reimbursed up to $50 per visit for a thank you gift.
- Additional costs:
- Transportation to meetings, including subway or cab fare;
- The reproduction of materials needed for business meetings;
- Parking at airports where driving a personal car outweighs the overall cost or inconvenience of other transportation;
- Meals for the staff member while traveling (up to $40/day; no alcohol); and
- Use of personal cars reimbursed at the per mile standard reimbursement rate issued by the country that the driving is taking place in.
Process for reimbursement
Within two weeks of returning, team members should submit receipts to email@example.com and enter actual expenses into the Expense Spreadsheet. For flights, e-bookings or receipts are required, and for hotel, bookings confirmations of payment are required. Any expenses beyond what were proposed will not be covered or, in some cases, need to come back to the team to be considered separately.
- When travel includes family & partners or it taken in conjunction with personal vacation time, P2PU will only cover the portion relevant to the team member and P2PU work.
- For all organization-funded travel, team members should document their work and share a report with the team upon their return. This report should tie back to the justification originally sent for the travel.
Occasionally conflict will arise that cannot be solved by team members without an “independent” (not directly affected facilitator). In those cases, this four-step arbitration process can be used as a way to still leave a lot of responsibility in the hands of the team without getting stuck.
- Issue: When we need to make a decision on a key issue, the team sets out the process and timeline to come up with a recommendation. The board can also request the team to find a solution to a particular issue and provide input on possible directions. A board facilitator is nominated by the board, who will participate in the process and represent it to the board.
- Solution: The team has an open discussion to identify the goals, bring out any issues that exist, try to resolve them, and come up with an agreed solution.
- Proposal: During a review period, any team members can reach out to the board facilitator to raise additional points or make further suggestions they did not want to make in the group. This input can be treated confidential. The board facilitator takes the team solution, considers the additional input s/he received and prepares a joint proposal with the team for board review and approval.
- Board: The issue is either shared with the board by email, or added to the agenda for the next board meeting. The board discusses the issue, considers the team solution, reviews additional input, may make further amendments, and approves (or denies) it.
Ending staff engagements
Team members who decide to resign are requested to give at least eight weeks notice and are expected to comply with all reasonable employer expectations of them during the notice period, especially regarding handing over their workload. Upon departure, team members will lose their P2PU email address, but are invited to stay part of the virtual community.
End of Temporary Assignment
Contractors will be discharged when their assignment is completed. If a contractor leaves before their agreed upon task has been completed, this may result in P2PU not paying the full amount to the contractor.
Speaking for P2PU (from Voice and Tone Guide)
We create a lot of content at P2PU, from Twitter to community emails to website copy. While we want each of our team members to shine as individuals, we also want to ensure some consistency in the voice of our organization to model the kind of community behavior we want to see. P2PU is:
- Smart but not stuffy. We’re informed, but accessible. A shared understanding is more important than looking smart. Avoid jargon, stiff or bloated language.
- Quirky but not offensive. Be charming. We aim to be memorable enough that you tell your friends, but not so much that it scares you away.
- Excited but not salesy. Use your sense of excitement. Bold statements are OK. In learning new things, people will go to great lengths to avoid humiliation, so make sure you’re making people feel at ease, engaged, and occasionally delighted.
- Casual but not sloppy. A casual tone reinforces our peer learning model. We’re all at the same level–there’s no need for formality. That being said, be concise and use proper punctuation.
- Massive but not a mob. When possible, use the 2nd person plural (we) and active voice. We’re storytellers and real people–point toward the experience of community members before the theory or idea behind it.
- Participatory but not perfect. We’re inviting, and anyone can get involved who wants to. Be mindful of your references–we’re an international organization with diverse backgrounds. Too many US-centric references will not get your message across.
P2PU supports the wide dissemination and use of its tools and resources, and thus expects that community members will often speak about P2PU in their professional and personal capacities. It may be the case that P2PU community members wish to post on social media, conduct interviews, or present at conferences about their work with P2PU as well.
Helping each other grow
There are two formalized times each year for professional development and reflection.
First, the team should convene in March/April to address personal growth. This conversation is geared towards understanding the long-term vision and hopes of our colleagues, and ensuring that we are doing what we can to support one another. Here are some prompts for that discussion:
- What activities in your job have you enjoyed the most and found most interesting? What successes do you feel you’ve had recently in your job?
- Imagine your career 5 years from now. What are you doing? Where are you working? Who are you working with? How does it feel? Once you have a clear picture of your career, describe the steps you’ve taken to develop yourself professionally to get there. What have you learned? How have you learned it? With whom have you worked?
- What areas of your career would you like to develop? What skills do you feel you need to practice more?
- Which development activity can you start on now that would be most beneficial to achieving your short-term goals? Your long-term goals?
Feedback and Support
- In what ways would you like to solicit feedback about your performance? What do you need from your team to help you with your development?
- Who do you wish you knew, or what kind of people would you like to get to know, that would help you be more effective in your job?
- Do you feel connected to your local community? Are there ways that P2PU could better support you in this?
Secondly, in September/October, after the goals for the next year are set but before the budget is finalized, the team should host a meeting that is more geared towards outlining next years work. The framing for this reflection is:
- What’s exciting: What are most looking forward to working on next year?
- What do you want to learn: What are you intimidated about doing (but not dreading?)
- What’s hard: What do you dread doing?
The goal of this check-in is to assure that the goals and budget being codified for the following year are aligned with the personal goals of team members, and visa versa. This is also the time for team members to advocate for any professional development-related expenses that they would like the organization to take on for the following year.
Editing the Guidelines
This document is generally closed to edits, but open for comments. Anybody seeking clarification of these guidelines, or desiring to change the guidelines, should first consult the team. If the team is in agreement that changes should be made, small changes, such as editing a policy for accommodate an unforeseen circumstance, can be proposed directly to the Executive Committee. Large changes, such as drafting new policies or proposing changes that contradict existing policy, should be included in the agenda for the next Board meeting for Board approval. Furthermore, changes to any sections of this document which summarize and reference P2PU bylaws require changing the bylaws themselves; this document does not supercede P2PU bylaws.