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WS Member Warmshowers Administrator's picture Board Meeting Agenda and Reports, 2015-05-31

Edited 2015-06-01 to add the Warmshowers Staff Responsibilities and Salary Issues report

The Foundation will hold its next business meeting on May 31, 2015. Minutes and other results will be forthcoming within a couple of weeks after the meeting. This page includes the agenda, Fundraising Status Report, Development Status, and the Warmshowers Staff Responsibilities and Salary Issues report.


  1. Fundraising status, plan and expectations for this year.
  2. Treasurer's Report
  3. Budget finalization (posted and discussed in #2015budget).
  4. Executive director job description and compensation.
  5. Executive director contract for remainder of year
  6. Trust and Safety Report about Toulouse Incident, reactions to it.
  7. Drew's resignation as treasurer. Search/choose another.
  8. Drupal 7 Upgrade status report
  9. Remind about the next meeting, June 28

WS Fundraising Status Report, 30 May 2015

  • We have received 3,184 donations this year for a total of $80,063.12. (About 5.5% of our 58,000 members have now donated., 4800 more (8.3%) have chosen the "free donation level").
  • Almost all specific appeals stopped when we reached our initial target in early April, but we've still received $20K more since then. (People who haven't chosen a donation level are still asked to do so when they log into the site.)
  • Donations for May, 2015 totaled 258 donations for a total of $5,921.59. This is especially impressive because May is pretty well removed from all of the email appeals and publicity we did.

WS Development Status

This report summarized development work since our March meeting when the previous report was done.

  • A very significant discussion with the community was undertaken to try to understand member priorities.
  • While the board has not yet finalized a priority list, both the board and community supported the Drupal 7 Security upgrade as highest priority.

Live Site Features/Bugs/Changes

  • The CSV download was removed from the site due to security concerns.
  • Changes to the existing site were made to (hopefully) allow the mobile apps to transition from the current site to the upgraded Drupal 7 site without a lot of pain. Since new app versions will soon appear supporting these changes, hopefully those will be on most people's devices before the Drupal 7 upgrade is deployed.
  • On-page translation was reimplemented on the site for user profiles.
  • Fixed various bugs, upgraded site to latest minor version of Drupal 6.

Drupal 7 Upgrade Progress

Because of the unanimity of sentiment to push the Drupal 7 upgrade forward, and because the WS membership supported this plan with gracious donor support, work has already begun on it. Randy Fay spent the majority of the month of May working on it, and Savas Labs donated a full day of its employees' work toward it.

  • An initial experimental migration was done, successfully, so we pushed forward with the traditional upgrade approach.
  • 54 separate upgrade issues were identified and issues were created in the Github repository.
  • 25 of the 54 issues have already been addressed, including some very large and scary ones.
  • A very ugly local version of the site now runs successfully on local development machines, with most features functional.
  • Mobile and web developers need a staging/testing D7 site so one will be deployed (on a separate server) in June.
  • Randy expects to focus nearly exclusively on this project for the month of June. He will then be gone for probably 2 months on a cycling trip. Completion and deployment of the project should be possible in the Fall of 2015.

Android App Development

A new version of the Android app (1.5.0) has massive visual and UI improvements thanks to Jean-Francois Beaulieu's design and Randy's implementation. It is in final betas and should be released to the general public in June, 2015.

The new version already incorporates Drupal 7 required changes, so the idea is that this will get on everybody's phone before the D7 upgrade and make that transition smoother.

iOS App Development

  • Chris Meyer is hard at work on a new version of the iOS app, which will incorporate the required D7 features.
  • Chris has transferred the app to the Foundation's Apple Developer account, but he will continue to manage it as always.
  • Michael Haeuslmann is building a completely new (experimental) iOS app as part of a university project. He has cleared this with Chris and is collaborating with all.

Warmshowers Staff Responsibilities and Salary Issues

This report is intended as background for board thoughts about future staff needs as well as current E.D. responsibilities and compensation, as will be discussed in the May 31, 2015 WS Board Meeting

The current Executive Director, Randy Fay, is now working full time for, and the community's generous contributions have made this important upgrade possible. (For the past 10 years he played these roles and others in his spare time.) He's actually playing four different roles:

  • Traditional Executive Director (as with all nonprofits): Leadership, organization, community organizing, networking with other related organizations, execution of board priorities, fundraising, site management.
  • Drupal/PHP Software Developer and Leader: implementation of new features, bug fixes, triage, organization of development.
  • Android developer: New features, bug fixes, etc.
  • I.T. Manager, including server monitoring and management and security.

Although no particular period is authoritative, as priorities change with projects, Randy's timesheets from February through May 11, 2015 show:

  • 46% Drupal/Site development (Ubercart donation implementation, General Maintenance, Drupal 7 upgrade)
  • 26% Board and volunteer management activities, including helpdesk activities and fundraising
  • 23% Android Development
  • 5% other, including financial, etc.

In order to set the stage for future staff requirements and current contract requirements I will try to develop a basic job description for each of the roles listed above, and options in obtaining them.

  1. Executive Director: This is a common title for the "CEO" of a nonprofit, or for the first staff member of a formerly all-volunteer organization. Fundamentally, the E.D. reports to the board to implement its policy in areas like leadership, organization, community organizing, fundraising, day-to-day operations like website management (not development). A sample reasonable job description shows Board governance, Financial performance and viability, Organization mission and strategy, Organization operations. says that a full-time nonprofit E.D. might expect to earn between 36K and 100K, with the median being about $60K.. (Read another interesting article on E.D. compensation)).
  2. Drupal/PHP Software Developer-Lead: Our site is developed using Drupal, which is written in PHP. A developer role at Warmshowers requires a long-term view of the viability of the site, managing developer volunteers, triage, and actual development and deployment. This article discusses overall PHP developer roles. shows full-time PHP developers averaging between 39K and 88K depending on experience and responsibilities. Of course there are significant variants. Our board president, Chris Russo, runs a Drupal shop and can comment further.
  3. Android Developer: One of our key mobile apps is on Android, and has been getting a facelift. In the future we will probably have to contract or hire outside help for this. The roles of an Android developer are similar to those of PHP developer, but with a different platform. shows full-time Android Developers receiving salaries between 50K and 119K.
  4. Information Technology Manager or Infrastructure Manager: This role involves deploying servers and services, managing them (updating, monitoring, problem-solving, security review). A small organization like ours could probably use contract services to fulfill this role. Currently we pay about $1200/year for an unmanaged server, and for probably about 4x to 10x that amount we could get an equivalent managed server with full support. Organizations experience with this type of plan can vary because the hosting company does not necessarily have goals that align clearly with the client organization, but it can be vastly more cost-effective to deal with a company that works directly with infrastructure all the time than to hire a contractor or salaried staff.

Additional Roles that are currently handled only by volunteers:
1. iOS developer: Our iOS app is completely volunteer managed, and has not been getting a lot of love because volunteers have other things to do. iOS developers are similar in role and salary to Android developers.
2. Visual designer: We have regular need for visual design both for the site and for the apps. A full-time website graphic designer might earn 30K to 62K

Paths to sustainable staff

Randy plans to resign his E.D. and Drupal Developer roles as of June 1, 2016, being replaced by a sustainable traditional staff situation. That means that the board should consider how to search for, obtain, and train replacement staff before that time. (Randy's planned resignation is a culmination of a years-long effort to make the org independent of him. He plans to continue as a volunteer or paid staff with a new portfolio.)

WS Member WS Member's picture
Removal of CSV

Just spent a frustrating morning trying to figure out why I couldn't find the CSV button. Not sure if you advised members of it's removal - perhaps I just missed it but it took a while searching to find this post.

While I completely understand your reasons for the removal of the CSV in regards to security, I'd just like to point out that certainly for us, by it's removal you have made it exceedingly laborious for us to use the WS site now.

It says in the search box you can search by region, but certainly for France it only allows the city, not the region.

The map isn't always the most usable best option. You may recall our correspondence about a year ago when I mentioned that I was finding many members were shown in completely the wrong place on the map - something due to the coding problems with google maps so unfixable.

Because of this, I would download the csv and search for the city or postcode. Apart from being accurate and correct, it turned out actually way faster than searching online using the map when you are in a country with slow internet. Actually, now I'm in Europe with fast internet - it's still way faster! It also meant I had the contact details stored on my computer and could contact a potential host by phone/sms easily. AT the moment you have to open up the members profile and either write down the details or make a selection to print the contact details separate - a normal straight screen print omits those details.

The list function doesn't work very well as it works on distance - rather frustrating when you are near a border and hosts in the country on the other side of the border are closer to you than the next city you are aiming for. If it is a big city you may have to scroll through tons of pages to get to the info you need.

Please don't think I'm complaining - I'm just trying to point out how helpful that CSV option was. Are there any thoughts on possible functions that may compensate for it's removal?

With thanks


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