I think it’s very important to pay/financially support YPC organizers! If we are to be led by those most impacted by inequity, our organizers of these backgrounds need to be compensated in order to have the ability to organize with YPC.
I’ve been thinking about this question a lot, and what follows is a starting place for what I was thinking at the time I wrote this, but that will obviously evolve.
When people join YPC as a working member, they are given the following options:
- I accept the following stipend amount to do the work of youth-led collective impact
Then they are asked what amount they want to contribute to YPC
- I contribute the following to fund the work of youth-led collective impact
- Choose my own amount
NOTE: The exact mechanics of donating will likely be different, depending on our donation platform, and not sure if the team member should be donating monthly or per member survey they fill out. The amount of money, too.
This allows people to self-select how much they need to be equipped to thrive and how much they’d like to contribute to bring joy.
The way we have accountability and transparency for who is paid and who gives is to ask monthly (quarterly?) survey questions that include the same questions above +
What roles do you hold in the YPC team?
What are you most proud of accomplishing this month?
What impact has your accomplishment made to youth-led collective impact? (This could be completely repetitive, but I’m writing it down now in an effort to remember that we need to be able to communicate outcomes).
What are your goals for the next month?
To what extent are you thriving as a happy, healthy, and impactful citizen of the world?
If you’re thriving, what impact are making, and what supports have made the biggest difference? If you need to be equipped with additional skills, resources, and/or community support, what are you needing?
To what extent have you benefitted from the following? (Wording needs work, for sure, but general idea is to match these questions with our aims. This may also need to be more granular to really figure out what 20% of what we do is most helpful. See The Real Value of Surveys for an example.)
- Mobilizing with community
- Sharing and receiving valuable information
- Developing as a leader
- Generating and receiving resources
- Creating and using avenues to scale
To what extent are we living out our values of
- Lead with love
- Build in public
- Own our impact
- Embrace emergence
- Act on principle
How likely are you to recommend Youth Power Coalition to others? (NPS)
(Optional) What shoutouts would you like to give to any specific individuals or circles?
(Optional) What feedback would you like for any specific individuals or circles to hear and act on?
(Optional) Any additional questions or comments?
All the answers to the questions above will be made public to the entire team so we can all have transparency into information that can make us better collectively. Then there’s a final question:
- (Optional) What private thoughts would you like to share? Email these to email@example.com. The members of the community care circle are listed in Peerdom.
(When I get the chance, I’ll say more about the Community Care Circle that I argue we’ll need to create next).
This monthly survey doubles as each team member’s invoice, which goes to the Business team to disperse.
We’ll also need a way to give everyone the dynamic budget so they can decide for themselves in relationship with others what stipends are possible and what additional money needs to be raised.
The survey is also now really long so maybe we cover vision, mission, and aims in different surveys or make a different one required in each survey.
All members who receive a stipend will need to know how to
- Open a bank account
- Pay taxes
- Handle liability (volunteers who receive more than $500/year are no longer covered by a volunteer law)
- Balance their accounts
- Save and invest
- Advocate for YPC’s business philosophy
- Be generous themselves
All members who give will need to know
- How to look into their own relationship with money to make sure they’re aligned with the 7Cs. For example, if someone’s the owner of a company that makes them exceedingly wealthy but that has been extracted based on not paying people equitably, then they need to fix that before giving to YPC.
- How to organize their people and get them to fund equitably.
- How to distribute power.
We’ll need to make it a joy for every member to generate resources in their own way so we always have abundant capital to resource our organizers. We’ll also need to have transparent tracking of what each circle is contributing to our financial resources and what each circle is needing. Finally, we’ll need to create a circle treasurer role so that each circle has the capacity to manage their own budget in alignment with the whole coalition.
We have a financial coaching team that supports organizers who need more than the stipend based on each individual circumstance. For me, I think my financial sustainability will come from a stipend from another organization, my Patreon page, and independent consulting. We can coach other organizers to advocate for something similar. By helping organizers build their own sources of income and gain the skills necessary to reinvent their personal business, they learn invaluable skills that will serve them well for life.
I don’t know what to do here, yet. On one hand training and consulting could be a place to pay not a volunteer stipend, but rather contracts or employment, but that’s really complicated and potentially discounts the labor of a whole host of folks who make the leadership development work possible but who are in support functions.
Or maybe the training and consulting money that we generate goes straight into the collective pot that drives the ability to stipend organizers.
Or maybe everyone is an independent consultant using YPC open-source materials and gifts money back to YPC when using the material and who take a well-capitalized pledge saying they will strive for not superstardom but always spreading the wealth.
Or actually, maybe we have it so that everyone (including YPC team members?) need to pay for training but have the opportunity to ask for scholarships. This way we build a self-correcting system of costs and benefits. SO many questions.
- How do we track who’s completing these surveys and who are not? And who follows up?
- How is the process different for members who join Youth Power Coalition through partners?
- How is the process different for members who join Youth Power Coalition through initiatives?
- What are the legal implications?
- What will we need to raise to make this possible?
- What are the tax implications?
- What are the movement implications? Mass movements have always depended on unpaid labor.
- How do we partner with direct service and mutual aid orgs to transition folks from needing basic needs into organizing?
- How does this payment work for people who are YPC Team members and compensated by partners?
- How do we differentiate between YPC team members vs coalition members and what’s the connection in survey questions?