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Annual report 2008-2009


This is a draft of the "2008-2009 Annual report", which will be used for our third GA. Model: last year report: Annual report 2007-2008

This document aims to resume what we did together during the previous year. It's a way to communicate our work to institutions, to keep an archive for the future, and probably to analyse our work with our actual experience!

1. Short history

2. Structural activities

BW: task structure - team structure

One of the most important structural changes was the abolishing of volunteer teams. The idea was to have workplaces and tasks instead. This task based structure never came to work properly, so for the following report I will nevertheless ask the (former) teams to report on their work.

BV: inactive members procedure

In order to have a good basis of active members in BeVolunteer and not to be hampered by the quorum for the administration, the inactive member procedure ( see details at http://www.bevolunteer.org/wiki/BV_members_activity ) was carried out well before the GA. From the 46 BV members 18 were contacted on time. Some replied that they would like to be supportive members, most just waited for the status change to be applied automatically. One resigned completely from BV, one took the chance to get more active again.

3. The Big Challenge: Building and Maintaining BeWelcome

3.2. The teams or workplaces

Many teams make sure that the organization is functioning smoothly and most of them used to be managed by a duo of coordinators. After introducing the task structure the role of coordinators was not clear, nevertheless I decided to keep the former coordinators in the alphabetical list of teams or workplaces. The list also includes a short report about what went on in every area.

  • Acceptation of Members (Frank and Ieva)

In general the acceptation went fine and fast (mainly because one or two acceptors were online most of the time). Recently we have seen an (small?) increase in sign-ups. Thanks to the implementation of a daily report that is sent out to some volunteers, the sign-up speed has improved. Ideally we should have one or two more people in the sign-up team.

Most potential spammers were taken out before they could sign up. However I feel it is still necessary to check addresses, names and profiles to make sure fake profiles can be reduced. When people enter wrong, incorrect, fake or incomplete addresses, and they are contacted before we accept them as a member, they often correct their addresses. It seems we sometimes need to tell them why it is necessary to provide a valid address. But once explained, they understand.

We notice an increase in members whenever a local newspaper publishes something about Hospex, or when somewhere on a forum BeWelcome gets mentioned. This should be communicated to the marketing/communication team.

Written by Thorgal67 20:25, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Design

The design team fails to recruit new design volunteers the last year. There are a couple of reasons I would say:

  • hard to find/join the team (another signup in bv forum needed)
  • bad team promotion (design related topics should ALWAYS have some words and a link to the team group)

Anyway we moved the whole team to BeWelcome design group. reasons for doing this:

  • all tools we need in one place (wiki, forum)
  • you dont need to add new vols manually ->they simply join the group
  • one login
  • you can easily forward people to other tools via group wiki

Almost all information how to join and work within the team have been moved in the group wiki. We have 3-4 active designers/devolopers. Via group invitations I was able to reactivate some inactive vols to join the group (at least some of them).

New potential volunteers will find there way to the team (group) via the GetActive page. In the group description is written to look into the Group wiki. In the Wiki is a description for potential new volunteers. The new volunteer have 3 options: join the group and/or replying to the introduction thread and/or contact some active vols (globetrotter_tt, crumbking, lupochen). The introduction thread is mail subscribed by active designers so we will be informed about new volunteers if they reply to the thread.

ToDo design:

  • fill up the group wiki (tools, getting started etc.)
  • change some links on BW: http://www.bewelcome.org/about we should link to get active or the relevant groups
  • http://www.bewelcome.org/about/thepeople links to old team overview should go to get active if we filled up with all teams
  • http://www.bewelcome.org/about/faq/2 old team overview linked a couple of times.....should be changed...
  • btw: there are A LOT OF LINKS in the FAQ which leads you to old BW sites


  • Forum (Frank)

The forum has vastly improved, both in terms of usability, design and content. The new admin tools and the translation tools are excellent, but have not been used so much.

Participation is increasing, but mostly by the same people. Also most topics are "volunteer" related or "bug" related, and not many topics are "hospex" or "travel" related. This is mainly due to the BV forum that is no longer used.

There have been not many instances of abuse or breaking of rules. Probably due to lack of participation. There has not been the need to officially intervene in any of the threads.

Written by Thorgal67 20:25, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Geography (Matthias)
  • Groups

(Fabian, Patrick)

  • Legal


  • Local Volunteers
  • Media and Communication
  • New Features (lemonhead)
  • Safety (daydreamer)
  • In the Year 2008/2009 Safety team took care about following cases.
  • One profile was deleted because it was a profile for the teddy from a user.
  • One User who was deleted who had a history in fraud in CS
  • Some Nigeria Scammer were deleted
  • One User with bad comment history in other networks was identified and set his self an "leave" after we wrote to him.
  • In addition we had to deal with some requests for comment changes which we dealt in dialog with the involved members.
  • Server Administration
  • Software Development
  • Support

(Alban and Claudia)

  • team
The support usually works fine for members, however there have been some periods with too long delays. Communication within the team can be improved, especially when it comes to availability.
  • tools
The OTRS was down for a couple of weeks, some feedbacks were lost, others could not be sent. We still have some spam problems, but now that the OTRS is back on, we can continue working. Since Matthias resigned from being OTRS Admin, we would still need a tech-minded person in our team who can take care of some of the trickier problems with OTRS. TRAC has been integrated in our work flow. Some of the templates have already been translated, but more work needs to be done there. As was already said a year ago, for the future it would be desirable to have some way of showing/setting what languages are currently available for support (this should be able to be quite dynamic and flexible, so that requests in a particular language would not have to wait for weeks until the volunteer with that language comes back from travelling)
  • FAQs
We still haven't managed yet to regularly check the validity and completeness of our BW FAQs. This will be one the tasks for next year.
  • interaction with Software Development Team
while we get information and help about problems very fast, we are often not informed about new tools or changed user interface. It would be desirable to find some good communication routines with the SD team on that.

Claudiaab 17:26, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Testing

The Testing Team is more or less non-existant. Although several bw-members do test new features on test.bewelcome.org test. Lacking a clear structure (the former test -> alpha -> productions system) and off course acitve coders there's not so much done about it right now. (Midsch 11:00, 29 April 2009 (UTC))

  • Translation

Translation is going somewhat slowlier than before, there are much fewer new volunteers, though partly it is caused by the fact that there are already quite good teams for many languages, especially European ones. The statistics shown on the stats page are partly incorrect as the program autimatically lists certain words as obsolete if programmers change anything (though the wording might remain exactly the same). There are quite a few technical problems, for instance, this one is totally unacceptable as it demotivates the new volunteer from the very beginning as it's not an easy task at all now to make a language listed: ( http://www.bewelcome.org/groups/60/forum/s763-Very-important-word-to-translate:-WelcomeToSignup ).

Irina is very eager to transfer her coord's rights and responsibilities to Ieva, Sitarane or other volunteer. However, she will continue translating into Russian and supporting newbies if necessary.

  • Volunteer Management

This team has been abolished, however the routines for volunteer management are not really clear at all. For the next term we need to find a good way to ensure that potential volunteers find the right people to ask and also get the right tasks to do. Claudiaab 17:26, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

4. Meetings

4.1. Board of Directors

A summary of the 2008 - 2009 term by Thorgal67 20:38, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

This term we started off with only 5 BoD members and haven't lost any on our way. However, temporary time outs were taken by various members. The previous practice of meeting on Skype ever other week was changed to a meeting every month. In between volunteer cafés were held to boost cooperation and communcation between BoD and volunteers. Reports were usually taken by the default moderator. This is not necessary, but it worked well for this period.


All in all attendance at BoD meetings was problematic (rarely did we have a full presence), so maybe a better way of working can be found for the future. The monthly meetings were still too many for some members of the BoD, others found it difficult to keep some continuity. Especially when assigning tasks it turned out that a month's delay reduced motivation to complete these tasks.

The communication between volunteers and BoD could definitely be improved, even though the volunteer cafés were mostly successful in that respect. All in all the BoD was a bit too reactive and too little proactive.

In certain areas the BoD felt that volunteers were expecting them to take decisions, even though they were clearly team decisions. For the next BoD it is important that everybody understands what the BoD can and can't do.

Delegates and tasks

The delegates represent specific areas within the Board of Directors. Some of them are officially required (Executive, Secretary, Treasurer) and the Vice positions support the delegates with specific tasks and general backup. An organisation like BeVolunteer changes fast and some tasks will become more important in the next years. Every year the new elected board of directors will evaluate the delegate positions and change them if necessary. Read more about the board of directors in the official statutes.

Executive Frank

The Executive Delegate holds the power of representation and signature in the name of the association, represents the association in all the acts of civil or administrative life, and in justice, if necessary. The Executive Delegate represents the executive organ of the association (BoD), and so can not take a decision without the validation of the BoD. In case of temporary or permanent incapacity, the Executive delegate is temporarily replaced by a vice-Executive delegate, or the Secretary Delegate, who in this case holds the same powers, until the BoD names a new Executive Delegate.


  • legal representative of the organisation
  • official spokesperson of the organisation

Ombudsman JeanYves
The ombudsman is a person who mediates between BV members in case of conflict or complaints, and who reports back to the BoD so that potentially problematic situations can be avoided or solved. Currently, the role is considered by some as a hallmark of an ethical organization and a key component of an integrated dispute resolution system.

Treasurer Thomas

See also Finances

The treasurer is in charge of the management of the patrimony of the association. The treasurer makes any payments and receives any revenue under the supervision of the Executive delegate, keeps a regular account of all transactions and reports to the BoD which verifies the management of the finances. In case of absence, the treasurer is replaced by a member of the BoD.


  • manages finances
  • manages donations: work together with legal team
  • prepares a clear financial statement for the General Assembly 2009

Vice Treasurer Pierre-Charles

Supports and helps treasurer - will be treasurer in case the actual treasurer resigns or is unavailable. Pierre-Charles was not available in the second half of this period. Basically Jean-Yves took over this task.

Secretary Claudia

See also Secretariat

The secretary is in charge of all correspondence and the archives. The Secretary Delegate is helped in his tasks by the assistant secretary (vice secretary) if there is one. (this term there is none) They draft the minutes of the meetings. In case of absence, they are replaced by a member of the BoD.


  • documentation: make public, archive, sort
  • informs volunteers, collects important news for newsletter
  • works closely together with pr and communications team

This term the secretary tasks were interpreted as mainly taking the minutes of BoD meetings, preparing documents for the GA and dealing with the inactive members procedure.

points the BoD had to deal with in the last period (apart from the ones described above)

4.2. volunteer cafés

These were a good means to improve communication between different workplaces and volunteers and BoD. Mostly the cafés resulted in new, quite clear-cut discussions on the BW forum.

4.3. Special meetings

4.4. The GA