Border Women is a networking site for Lesbians and Bisexual women (including trans women who identify as lesbian or bisexual) aged 18 years or more in the Welsh – English borders, although it does have members based further afield who have a connection with the area.
The site enables members to share and discuss information, contact each other and post events. Members are requested, but not required, to set up an annual donation to cover the cost of the site, domain names, contributions to gatherings and associated expenses.
Border Women has no leaders or management committee. We are an informal group which consists of whatever we each do and what we invite each other to do. We are all responsible for ensuring that Border Women runs effectively. If a member wants to raise an issue or take forward an idea or activity then it is up to them to do so.
Four volunteers (who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) take care of Border Women at any one time:
- One deals with new membership
- One maintains the website
- One maintains the networking site
- One is the Treasurer
and all four moderate the networking site. The volunteers are also known as moderators. You can contact the moderators via email@example.com. At least three of the volunteers are signatories on the Border Women bank account.
Where does the donations go?
We aim to keep enough in the treasury to cover two years of networking site and domain hosting costs (in case there is a reduction in membership in one year). We also need to cover the cost of up to two Border Women gatherings each year and the expense of managing the postal address. Volunteers may, when they need to, claim travelling expenses for meetings to discuss Border Women issues, although every effort should be made to minimise these claims and they should not be made if meetings coincide with a Border Women event.
How can I become a volunteer?
Volunteers are asked to carry out their role for a minimum of 2 years to maintain continuity and avoid disruption. After 2 years, the volunteer may continue in post if no other member has applied; if another member has applied then an election will be held. After 4 years, a replacement volunteer will be actively sought from the membership; if no new volunteer comes forward, the current volunteer may continue in post and the vacancy will be re-advertised annually.
Ideally, only one volunteer will be replaced in any year to ensure continuity of experience.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest. The moderators will discuss the role with you so that you know what is involved. If you are still interested, are confident that you have the necessary skills and there is a vacancy, your appointment will be a matter for approval at the next Border Women Gathering.
- If a volunteer has to withdraw at short notice, the remaining volunteers may either:
- Cover amongst themselves the duties of the withdrawn volunteer, or
- Notify the membership and seek a replacement. If several members apply then a vote will be held via the Border Women site.
How are issues raised and resolved?
The members of Border Women are responsible for ensuring that it is run effectively. If there is an issue or problem which you believe needs addressing, you should take the lead in getting it resolved. Start by drafting a clear description of what the issue is:
- Keep the description factual, the tone neutral, and avoid terminology which can give offence.
- Be prepared to take a lead on resolving the issue, or work with other members who would be prepared to do so.
There are then two options open to you.
- Use the “Report an Issue” button at the bottom of each page.
- This will allow you to generate a message which will be sent to all moderators but will not be published elsewhere on the site.
- If the issue is such that it can be resolved by simple action taken by the moderators, they will do so.
- If the issue is of wider significance to the members, or requires their approval, the moderators may request that you use the second method of creating a sub-group to resolve the issue.
- Create a sub-group that will work together to find a solution to the issue.
- A sub-group can be created by clicking on the Groups tab and then clicking Add – ensure you include the description of the issue.
- Notify the moderators that you have created a sub-group by emailing them at email@example.com.
- If 8 or more individual members agree that the issue should be raised with the entire membership, the moderators will email it out to everyone.
- If 2 or more moderators believe that the issue may impact significantly on Border Women they may email all members to encourage others to join the sub-group.
- The sub-group is then responsible for seeking to resolve the issue. It should aim to reach a consensus, but if this cannot be done a majority decision will suffice.
- The resolution should be documented and recorded on the Group page.
- If the resolution involves expenditure ensure that the Treasurer is involved in the discussion.
- If the resolution involves changes to the web site make sure that the web site moderator is consulted at the earliest opportunity.
- Notify the moderators of the resolution. The moderators will, if the issue is of wide importance, notify the membership. Note that if a Border Women gathering is close, the group may defer discussion and approval to the gathering.
When do we get together?
We meet all the time at all sorts of different events that we organise and invite each other to. In addition we aim to have two Border Women gatherings each year accessible to all members:
- The Autumn meeting comprises a mix of social activities, allows decisions to be made (e.g. how to spend excess money), allows members to learn about new features of the networking site, and so forth.
- The Spring meeting is a smaller event with the same basic content as the Autumn meeting.
The moderators will remind members when these events are due but it is not their responsibility to organise them. The moderators will ask for members to volunteer to plan and organise the event. This will involve setting up a sub-group on the site and inviting all members to be involved. The sub-group will also record any decisions made at the gathering and make these available via the site.
If insufficient members come forward to organise the event then it will not run.