Workshop – May 21 2016

Attendees: Binay, Venkat, Sridhar, Sujit, Karthik, Prema, Garima, Olivia, Rashi

9:30AM – 10:45 AM        –  Project Processes (Sujit Kuruvilla) . Finished at 10:45AM

Sujit went over the doc that Latha created (thanks Latha) with new set of instructions for putting in check requests. Here are some of the action items for coordinators based on the discussion and feedback.

Project processes

  • Stewards do not know who the project coord is
  • Karthik – can you check with central web to update “link to proposal” to “link to budget proposal”
  • Do project coords check if the project page is up-to-date.
  • Karthik – check if there is a way to export the project info (stewards etc).
  • We made hard decision on some of the projects funding. Can we have project coords track these projects and when they come back for funding (if additional funding is available)
  • Can we front load some of the project presentations?

How can we avoid situations like GKVDS ?

  • Do surprise visits
  • Build a pool of volunteers in India who can do surprise site visits. Narrow down projects to 5-10 and ask them  to do site visits
  • Recommendations for surprise site visits
  • Tell the project partners that once in a while we will do surprise site visit
  • Rashi asked if not fully funded projects can get more funds at the end of the year if there are funds available – Binay/Sujit to look into this fixing this.
  • How do you improve the learnings & project communication between project stewards – Raised by Prema
  • Project Steward needs to have frequent communication with project coordinators – At least once a month.
  • Surprise site visits by volunteers in India – Binay/Sujit to follow-up
  • How does the project owners in India know the surprise visit is happening from Asha ?

 Action Items for coordinators-

  1. Incorporate the doc with the new set of instructions in to the project processes doc on the Asha site. We need to update FCRA doc upload instructions as well based on shifting to the central Asha site.
  2. Review and make sure that the project processes doc contains instructions for uploading docs, etc – Done – it does cover this.
  3. We will need to do a few things differently now that we are shifting to the central site for checklists.
  4. Periodically obtain the latest set of steward contact info from the central website. Karthik mentioned that he will be able to help with this.
  5. Discuss how the checklist approval process goes with the central checklist and how we coordinate the approvals.
  6. There is no good way for stewards to identify who their project coordinator is. How do we make this information available to others? Central website / DB provides does not provide an option to store the coordinator info or more than 2 stewards.
  7. There was discussion about encouraging more surprise site visits, considering the recent GKVDS project where we spotted issues and stopped funding after funding it for several years in the past. More details on this needs to be sorted out. Interestingly our current project processes doc does not recommend surprise site visits. We will need to update this once we close on this topic. Another suggestion was to encourage stewards to communicate more frequently (monthly?) with the project partners.
  8. Astha steward Rashi wanted to get introduced to her project coordinator – This is done and I have updated the steward info in our tracking sheet.
  9. One thing I learned very recently, meeting minutes are now uploaded at a different location

10:45AM – 12:45PM      – Recent Spikes in pollution levels (Karthik to present data and followed by discussion). Is there anything we can do?

Karthik presented information and data on recent pollution levels. We did a round table and discussed everyone’s opinions on this problem.

1:30PM – 3:30PM     – Reviving health of Seattle chapter (Binay/Prema to drive the discussion)

  • Lack of volunteers one of the reason for struggling
  • Can someone come & talk about projects during running/biking practices – Sridhar
  • Sending emails to DLs is not very useful – Sridhar
  • Family/fun type of feeling is missing? – Prashant
  • Short of time during meetings – Prashant
  • Engagement of volunteers is missing – Garima
  • Problems
  • Meetings are boring
  • Volunteer reach out & retention
  • We need to be more social
  • Problems with quorum with chapter meetings, volunteers  involvement, give campaign funding reduced because of volunteer bandwidth

Solutions Discussed

  • Technology
  • Accountability
    • At least respond when you will got to it
    • Communication protocol
    • Over reliance on email
  • Connections
    •  Engage with new volunteers who attend a chapter meeting
    •  Recruit our donors
    •  Open forum
  • Become more social
    • Offsites (group outing)
    • Potlucks
    • Movie night
    • Game nights
    • Meeting at home
    • Play cricket
    • Relaxed meetings – festival theme based
  • NVO – buddy program needs to be revisited
  • Volunteer recruitment and retention
    • Pledge hours
    • Task tracking
  • Responsiveness
    • Whatsapp group + Facebook group
    • slack
    • Restructure project presentationStories
      • Share outside meeting
      • Connection with end impact / project impact visibility
  • Project engagement
    • Project processes – can the check request process be simplified so there is not so much hierarchy
    • Survey of project partners
    • Communication failure protocol
    • Gauge project partner & steward communication effectiveness
    • More frequent updates


3:45PM – 4:15PM   – Documentary watching (Prema)

India’s missing girls – a Documentary –

Discussed about funding the project, Aarti Home, shown in the documentary