Accountability is created by the tension that exists between groups that
watch each other. Having a set of committees reporting to a single board is
simply a pyramid.
A director (CEO, whatever you wish to call the position) and their team is
one locus of control. A board is another. The board's task is to offer
guidance, select individuals to perform specific tasks, remove
non-performers from office and so on. But the actual running of the
organisation is left to the director and team.
Reconstituting Anthere's list of committees into a set of line functions
overseen by a director would look as follows:
* Finance and internal audit - task is to ensure bookkeeping, and audit, as
well as assist auditors appointed by board; insurance can be pasted in here
* Chapters - I'm assuming this has some oversight of the projects?
* Communications and Public Relations - press releases, events, promotions,
as well as watching media for outside coverage, etc.
* Information technology and technical development - server maintenance and
* Special projects - should this simply be part of an enlarged Chapters
* Legal - specialist required in international law, trademarks, etc.
* Fundraising - works closely with communications and PR
* HR and admin - if you are going to have an office, you need to ensure it
gets cleaned, stocked with coffee / tea, salaries paid on time, contracts
drawn up ... that sort of thing
* Director / CEO - the boss, and reports directly to the board
These are all simply technical roles - there is no assumption that they
would be a single person, or a group, simply tasks that may need to be
performed. The board gets standardised feedback and has the right to
intervene to fire the director or any of the other role-players. The board
does not run the operation, it simply has oversight and ultimate control.
The director knows that they report to the board.
Board's normally do not require a massive time commitment and so they can be
stocked with celebrities who are able to open doors (and consequently make
the fundraising task a lot easier).
Typically, any organisation has the following core requirements:
* financial control
* strategic planning
* operational support (includes: IT, legal, HR and so on)
You could, depending on the work-load, bundle many of these tasks together:
* finance, internal audit, admin, hr
* IT, technical development
* chapters, special projects
* communications, PR, fundraising
So then you need six people in your head office. Your board could be as
large as you like (remembering that the bigger your board, the harder it is
to get everyone to get together at the same time, or agree on anything).
The overall strategy - it goes without saying - can be the responsibility of
the board. Implementation belongs to the director.
"Generally, I believe the projects will not accept *anyone* as head of a
project, with absolute power. The projects organise themselves
independently of the Foundation, only respecting the general goal of
the project and a couple of core rules (licence, wikilove and neutrality
I don't suggest anything like absolute power (editorial control, that sort
of thing) but it is useful to have a person in charge who keeps track of
what is going on. They act as champion for the project. If you really want
to create a Chinese wall between the Foundation and its projects then you
have to have someone at any particular project that the Foundation can talk
to. Someone has to guarantee the core rules will be applied.
It's no good simply cutting a perfectly good project loose when it crosses
the line. Someone, tasked with championing the project, should have the job
of keeping the project inside those lines ... as gently as possible. Only
when they completely loose the ability to control those guidelines should a
project be cut.