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Documentation Yee-Haw

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 7 months ago

Documentation Page (or, how to do all the cool stuff that makes Free Ride spin)


This page is for coordinators, people who think they are coordinators, people who begrudgingly acknowledge they are the only one who knows how to do something, etc. to write down what they do for Free Ride in enough detail that someone else could hopefully read this page and have a decent chance at getting the tasks done. Have a look at the August 19, 2007 Meeting Minutes page for a couple relevant proposals (hint: please document your stuff in time for the September 9 meeting).


Some wiki formatting suggestions:

1) You might consider using the "Heading 2" format for the title of your role and the "Heading 3" format for titles of tasks within the role.

2) If you want to create links to other pages, watch out for PBWiki changing things out from under you. If you select an existing page from the drop down box, it will change the "link text" box, overwriting anything you might have had there before.

3) To edit an existing link, assuming you are logged in and in edit mode, right click on it and pick edit. On a Mac, you can either do this with an external 2 or 3 button mouse, or you can hold down the "ctrl" key while you click with the normal button.




Programs Committee

This was the original title of the coordinatorship, but now in practice it really only deals with youth programs, not all programs.  We convene meetings when new programs are planned, to determine who will staff.  We have an informal policy of notifying the full collective of new programs and planning meetings for them, so new people can participate if desired.


staffing youth programs

  • at least one person gets paid $10 per hour to coordinate the class. They should attend all sessions, for consistency, and bottom-line responsibilities.
  • ratio - about 1 person per five kids
  • other needed staff can be filled in by volunteers, who don't have to come to every session

Planning youth programs

  • last year we recieved money from the Three Rivers Community Foundation to pay someone per hour for the task of developing partnerships with other groups for classes.  Andalusia did this, resulting in a series of classes with the Pittsburgh Project's oakland camp, and an afternoon session with the Frick Environmental Center.  We still have money left, so someone could continue this work. 




Volunteer Committee

(by Stuart - current committee members (Stuart, Jessica, Scott) )

  • Maintain an up-to-date list of volunteers and their contact information
    • Currently this is an excel spreadsheet containing the following
      • Name
      • Phone Number
      • Email Address
      • Training status
  • Keep the staffing calendar filled
    • If we don't have at least 3 people signed up for a given night, send out an email to the list several days in advance of that night. If no one signs up start making phone calls.
      • I usually try to call people who aren't already staffing a shift that week.
    • If many people are going out of town simultaneously, send email to the list letting everyone know that they may be required to fill more shifts than usual.
  • Do volunteer trainings
    • When several people have expressed interest in volunteer trainings call them and find a day and time that works for most of them.
    • Print out or copy enough copies of the current manual for everyone who is coming to the training, including yourself.
    • Spend some time preparing to teach the training, find a partner for the training if you can.
      • We will try to produce a training manual at some point in the future to provide better ideas for how to do this and what exactly to cover.
  • Do other stuff that will make our volunteers more productive, happier, and more interested in working at Free Ride.
    • We are working on a shop map with an index so people can find what they're looking for without asking for it.
    • We are working on a 'Free Ride How To Manual' to go in each toolbox that includes the basics of how to work in the shop and what to expected (and not expect) from volunteers.





(by Will, presently the de facto scribe)

Preparing for Meetings

1) I make sure there is an agenda item on the wiki page for picking the time, date, and location of the next meeting.


2) Shortly before I head out for the meetings, I've been checking this wiki and printing out a copy the meeting's agenda. When there are other pages where between meeting discussions have been taking place, I might print those out too.


3) To take minutes, I've been bringing a pad of lined, 3-hole punched paper and a pen. It's way lighter than a laptop, and I find that typing the notes up later helps me to remember things that might not have made it onto the paper and to clarify and organize stuff.



At Meetings

1) I bring the printouts and give them to the facilitator.


2) I take pen and paper notes of what's being talked about and who says what. I number the pages, and ideally I put the date, location, etc. of the meeting at the top of each page; for sure I get the heading on the first page. Obviously it is helpful to learn names of everyone at the meeting ASAP. During relatively calm and orderly stacks or go'rounds, I can keep pretty accurate track of what's going on. When things start getting looser or in more back and forth discussion, I tend to summarize once things have calmed down. I try to pay special attention to keeping proposals and check-ins straight, and sometimes I ask for clarification. Often I use a box, stars, or something similar to mark proposals so I can find them quickly later. I've been averaging about 5 pages of notes for each meeting. The meetings have been lasting between 2 and 4-1/2 hours recently.



After Meetings

1) I've been updating several places on the wiki related to "next meeting agenda" links, the minutes and agenda archive page, and typing up the actual minutes. This has been taking me around 3 or 4 hours. Most of that time is for typing the minutes. It could be shorter, but I've been spending time trying to remember exactly what happened, filling in gaps in my written notes, organizing things that don't make sense on the paper, and making sure things are formatted nicely on the wiki page.


The specific things I've been doing to the wiki are:

- Update the Archives page (view the page, click the edit page button, then log in):

a. Under the heading for the meeting that just happened, add a link to a new page for the meeting minutes.

b. Add a heading for the next meeting, below the heading, add a link to a new a new agenda page, save the edit.

c. Follow the link to the new agenda page, click through the create-a-new-page page (no template).

- Update the agenda page for the next meeting:

a. Once I'm editing the new agenda page, create a "Heading 1" formatted title with the next meeting's time, date, and location.

b. Fill in any agenda items that were created at the last meeting, save the edits.

- Update links and next meeting on the sidebar

a. On the FrontPage, edit the "Next Meeting Agenda" link under the "Collective Process" heading so that it points at the newly created agenda page (see wiki tips at the top of this page for info on editing links on a Mac). In the edit link dialog bos, be careful about fixing the "Link Text" after you select the right agenda page in the drop down menu.

b. On the SideBar page, edit the "Next Meeting Agenda" link as above. Also update the time, date, and location of the next meeting.

- Type the minutes

a. Go back to the Archives page, click the link for the minutes page created earlier, create the new page.

b. Add a "Heading 1" formatted heading with the meeting's time, date, and location.

c. I sometimes start with a summary of important decisions, particularly if I know I won't have time to type all my notes right away

d. Type stuff up. I use "Heading 2" formatted titles for major topics or divisions within the meeting. For stuff that lasts a while, I might also use some "Heading 3" titles to break things up. Sometimes I include my opinions or comments about what was going on, but I make sure to keep them separate. I was using square brackets, but they confuse PBWiki, so I started using curly braces, like {this}, instead. For proposals, check-ins, calendar dates, and other important stuff, I use bold. Also, be careful to check the page after you finsish; sometimes PBWiki leaves off the last bit of formatting or perhaps the last sentence that I typed. I think this might have something to do with it's auto-save feature.


2) I just started stapling my pages of meeting notes, taking them to the shop, and putting them in the meeting minutes binder.


3) At the last meeting (August 19, 2007) there was some concern about people in the shop wanting to attend meetings but having a hard time figuring out where and when to come. So, this time around I posted a card on the bulletin board over with the time, date, and location of the next meeting, plus a little map.




Shop Committee


I didn't have time to do much of this part of it cause i spent a lot of time making this document which more or less explains a lot of what i do.  it is still a work in progress, but once it's done, it will make my job easier for myself and everyone else.




CJ/Deb Liason


This is an individual (not a committee) who is serves to communicate for Free Ride with Construction Junction, our landlord.  Currently the term for this role is 6 months.  CJ has a Free Ride liason who does a very similar thing on their side of the relationship, their current person's name (as of Sept. 2007) is Deb.  The basic functions of this role are:


  • Periodic (as needed) telephone conversations/check-ins between FR and CJ:
    • which are documented on the wiki
    • and are sometimes part of report backs at monthly meetings (see below)
  • Meet with Deb on a (roughly) monthly basis to discuss ongoing issues between FR and CJ related to:
    • news from either organization
    • space maintainance, both theirs and ours
    • events, again both theirs and ours
    • safety concerns/policies/etc.'s
    • legal issues such as lease negotiations
    • ANYTHING that needs to be communicated between FR and CJ
  • Report back to the collective at monthly meetings and through the wiki any information and requests from CJ for discussion...
  • ...and get back to CJ with our responses


It should be noted that our CJ liason is not authorized to make any decisions on the spot in regard to requests/proposals.etc.'s from CJ, all requests and concerns that come up from CJ are brought back to the collective for discussion and decision making processes.  Collective decisions are relayed back to CJ through the liason, possibly for further discussion or simply for action to be taken.




Finances / Cash Flow


Finance Management consists of a few key regular responsibilities and a smattering of other tasks which will poke their heads out from time to time:


Making Deposits!

Herding all of our incoming cash and checks is a big part of being Treasurer. Deposits must be made regularly so that cash does not build up in the shop. When cash builds up it is not secure - when checks build up they run the risk of bouncing in their old age and costing us a fee. Making deposits is itself simple, but Free Ride keeps all of our finances in four places:


Cash Register: This is the machine through which all cash/check transactions within the shop take place. It provides easy documentation which can be entered into Quickbooks at a later date via nightly printouts. The Cash Register will ALWAYS CONTAIN $125 in it, in a combination of $1, $5, and $10 bills, with preference given to smaller denominations. This provides for ease in giving change to customers who usually pay with larger bills. All money over $125 at the end of a shop session should be deposited in the Cash Box. Quarters should all be kept in the Cash Box as well. The register drawer is removed at the end of each night and placed (in a safe place). For more information on the register and how to use it, please see (THIS LINK)


Cash Box:  Commonly referred to as The First Aid Kit, this is a binder-sized metal box in the lockers near the register. It is a holding area for all cash, checks, and receipts until they can be picked up by the Treasurer (or whoever) and dealt with properly. It is also the default storage for other items of value, such as Library Bike Deposits and Phone Bills. Volunteers may be paid cash out of the box for purchases they are owed for, if and ONLY if they can provide a receipt for records. Do not do a pay out from the Cash Register. Similarly, taking money from the Cash Box prior to a purchase, then bringing back the change AND a receipt is acceptable. No cash should otherwise be removed from the Cash Box unless it is going to be deposited in either bank in the very immediate future.


PNC Checking Account:  Free Ride keeps a Nonprofit Business checking account through PNC Bank. The account is, specifically, "Bike PGH dba Free Ride". The "dba" means "doing business as", language which specifically means that we are a project of Bike PGH - even though we manage the account independently of Bike PGH, they are responsible for it as well under our fiscal sponsorship arrangement. A technicality, really. The only two signatures on the account are Shaun Slifer and Scott Bricker. This means that only these two people can make decisions regarding the account at the bank, withdrawls, check signing, etc. However, ANYONE is capable of making a deposit into the account, provided they give the account number (not posted on wiki for matters of paranoia, available from Shaun at any time) and explain what they are doing. When I enter the bank, I will have FIRST counted all cash, stacked it by denomination, and faced all bills the same direction. Tellers like this, and will hate you slightly less for making them count it all. I will also have a total written down for Cash and Checks. I then log everything on a Deposit slip, and I keep the cash hidden in a pocket or folder until I am at the teller station so I don't look like a pimp. We have a business account, so if it's busy at the bank you can go to the Business Transaction line for a bit of a thrill and a shorter wait. This account does not have a debit card or credit card attached to it. This will likely change soon in order to ease the wholesale ordering process.


EEFC Federal Credit Union Share Savings Account: Free Ride has a Share Savings Account through the East End Food Coop's Federal Credit Union. This account sees occasional deposits and a very rare amount of withdrawls - most action happens in the PNC account. The Credit Union (which, like us, is all volunteer) is not equipped to provide much more than storage space for our money, however our investment in their FCU helps keep them running. As with the PNC account, ANYONE can make deposits, and the Credit Union is amazingly informal. The only signatures on this account are Shaun Slifer and Andalusia (under her birth name), and only these two people my make decisions regarding the account or withdrawls. They are only open two days a week: Wednesdays 6-8pm and Saturdays 11am-3pm. We also currently have a secondary Share Savings Account which stands as an informal escrow account for deposit payments towards the rent we owe Construction Junction, until such time as we can get a lease form them and settle up. Shaun is currently the only person with access to this account, although it is in the name of Free Ride.


Paying People for Things!

When people are owed money, there are two ways in which they can be paid. If they desire a check, only Shaun and Scott Bricker can sign for the checks from the PNC account. The checkbook and ledger are kept in Shaun's bag, which is usually on his person for this purpose (and because he carries a lot of superfluous tools about). Memo lines for checks are always filled in as this is useful later when itemizing expenses and tracking things. If somebody would prefer to be paid in cash, they must write our a detailed reciept for the amount, date, and "service provided" and have Shaun or another Collective Council Member pay them out of the First Aid Kit. To be clear, the method of payment is not as important as the record that it happened. Documentation is key.


In the past, we have recieved grants with which to pay staffers for classes, etc., and in these cases it is especially important to have a record of who was paid and how much, as we often are responsible for reporting back to the granters explaining how the money was used. In these cases, subcommittees responsible for bottomlining grants are responsible for keeping track of these funds as well as creating a timesheet system for logging all hours worked. Again, documentation of this is important. We do not pay any of our staffers as "Employees", we pay as "Contractors", and this language is important when dealing with grants. The distinction is primarily for tax reasons: employees must be paid throuh a payroll system, which deducts Social Security and other regular payments each time a check is drawn, whereas contractors are paid the full amount of their hours worked and are personally responsible for their own taxes. Free Ride will provide 1099 forms at the end of each year to people who have been paid as contractors. To date, the only employee payroll situation we have encountered was within the YouthWorks grant program, with which we no longer participate.


Succumbing to Quickbooks!

I'm really going to have to sit down with the software and figure this one out...


The Cash Register!

For gettin' holt of anyone who might know about how to fix the Cash Register, you'll need to call Roth Cash Register (aka Daddy Roth's Register Ranch). Now don't go wasting their time, hear? Make sure the dang thing's good n' busted before you pop off with an ol' "how do I change the printing ribbon" line (for that call Shaun at home). The Ranch is out on 1600 Saw Mill Run Blvd if you need to take it in. Give them a holler at 412-884-5700 They couldn't be more helpful, if you're ready for their brand of helpful. Also, they have a website at www.rothcashregister.com which is about as appealing to look at as a toothbrush. There is a manual for the cash register: it is kept at Shaun's house because there is only one copy and it is not safe being left to the hungry flow of the shop. While some troubleshooting can be done with the manual, it is largely for programming and has little to do with regular register maintenance. If there is ever a need to re-program a key or any other feature of the register, it can be done with the help of this manual. Shaun also has a few spare register keys - however they are NOT the all-access keys like the one on the keyring at the shop. There is one extra of these "manager" keys in the locker. It should not, for any reason, be removed unless the primary key is deemed lost as they are not easy to replace. We also have a small stock of replacement ribbons and reciept tape in the lockers. There are instructions for how to change these in the manual (I will post to the shop soon).


Paying the Billz!

  • Contruction Junction (rent) - there is currently no standardized method for paying Construction Junction for renting the space we use. Until further notice we are making deposits into a savings account at the East End Food Co-op (see above) which operates as an escrow account until we get a lease agreement from CJ.
  • PennTelecom (phone bill) - PennTelecom provides our phone service at the space we rent from CJ. The bills come to CJ and are addressed to Free Ride/Bike PGH. They are usually very cheap as we just have basic service, and I often pay off two or three months in advance to lessen the stress of thinking about the phone ever being cut off. New bills are to be put in the Cash Box until Shaun can get his paws on them.


Kitty: Accountant from Heaven

As part of our "fiscal sponsorship" arangement with Bike PGH, we use the financial wiardry of Kitty Brunkhorst to keep the roof from caveing in on us. Kitty runs her own business, Microtime 2, which specializes in doing accounting for non-profit organizations. We pay her a small amount for her help - she currently sends invoices to Shaun, who then cuts her a check. Paper invoices are cataloged in the Bike PGH office, where all of our paperwork is archived. Considering her level of patience in the face of such hydras as the Youthworks program, her rates are very fair. She keeps track of all of our financial concerns through Quickbooks software which is housed on an old Macintosh which is also in the Bike PGH office. She can be reached at microtime2 (at)  verizon (dot) net



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