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The ABC’s of Involvement at AlterHéros in 2008

This April, AlterHéros will be organising the 5th annual general assembly of its members. Due to the way that AlterHéros is structured, these meetings are vital for the proper function and sustainability of the association. For this reason we wish to enlighten you on the subject off our mission and to open your mind to the possibility of directly involving yourself in the AlterHéros community in 2008.

The Anatomy of AlterHéros
An Association likeAlterHéros is comparable to a village. Our members play the role of the village citizens who have the right to vote on everything that goes on within the association. The role that our members play in the AlterHéros mission is invaluable and essential for the survival of the association. As a citizen of a village contributes to their village by playing taxes, members of AlterHéros make their contribution by the expression and sharing of ideas, volunteering, and through projects that are born from the benevolence and ambitions of our members. A potential member could be a visitor to our site who develops an active interest in staying informed on the association, upcoming events, and the latest related news. A potential member could also be an individual who desires to involve themselves and to donate some of their time by becoming a volunteer. Additionally, a member can be someone who wishes to gain work experience, to meet new friends, and despite their daily schedule, to do something extra for the association and its cause by becoming an administrative volunteer.

The Board of Directors

The board of directors of a small association like AlterHéros, is simultaneously a team who makes decisions together and additionally who executes the ideas born from these decisions. As opposed to a larger enterprise or organisation that might distinguish between its administrative counsel – where strategies, visions, and plans are developed and defined – and its executive counsel – where these concepts and plans become concrete actions – the AC at AlterHéros is responsible for both of these sets of duties. While certain people might take a more « administrative » role, like the tresorer-secretary who oversees the associations finances and budget, other members may take on a more interactive role, like that of the director of interventions. Nevertheless, no matter what role an individual may take within the association, the strength of AlterHéros comes from its team as a whole. One of the wonderful benefits of a system like ours is the creation of mutual support between its members. Additionally, since AlterHéros is dominantly based on an internet site, our team can be widespread geographically without sacrificing efficient communication. Networking between members can be done by means of conference calling, the use of a shared intranet, communal mail boxes, as well as lists to disseminate tasks. This has enabled us to take on members from across Canada, Europe, and the United-States.

How do I become a director?
To become a member of our board, you must be motivated, have enough spare time, and believe in theAlterHéros mission. May we be gay, hetero, bi, trans, young, old, male, female, Pakistani, Québécois, Anglophone, or Francophone, at AlterHéros a diverse team is the ideal.

In order for an individual to become a director, it is required that they be present at our annual general assmbly and apply for a particular position which will then be decided on through an election process. If an interested individual is unable to physically appear at the GA, they can inform us of their application by explaining their motivations to the group through an e-mail.

Based on whether the year is even or uneven, certain positions are available while others are already filled by an director that has been previously elected. Additionally, other positions might become available as administrators leave throughout the year. If more than one candidate applies for a particular position, the present directors decide who will take that position through an election. There are also certain appointed positions that are granted to individuals based on the decision of the directors. The GA also gives members the opportunity to voice their opinion about the future of AlterHéros.

Every year about half of the faces on the board of directors change. While certain administrators decide to renew their position for another year, others are given the opportunity to involve themselvesfor the first time. At the GA, we can generally count on twenty to thirty members and non-members who come to get to know the yet unseen faces behind AlterHéros and to learn about our actions. More often than we would suspect, this experience inspires individuals to join our team.

Once elected to the board, there is a transition period between old and new directors that can last from one to three months, depending on the availability of the previous and present administrators. Additionally, an director’s guide is available to ensure that the new members understand their tasks, and the way in which the association functions. Meetings in person are held 8-12 times per year and generally take place in the evenings or on the weekends. And of course, the whole team is there to help our new members to properly integrate into the AlterHéros community.
 
How to get involved in 2008?
After the GA in April, several opportunities for involvement will be available for the year which spans from April 1st, 2008 to March 31st, 2009. The following diagram illustrates the structure of the AlterHéros team.

Here is a description of the positions :

  • President : The President more of a coordinator than a big boss. It is the president who must coordinate and lead the team meetings, must ensure that the various projects are advancing acceptably, and must represent AlterHéros at important events.
  • Vice-president : The VP is responsible for the volunteers, and acts as the right-arm of the President. The VP takes care of the recruitment and the coaching of the volunteers to ensure that their activities run smoothly.
  • Treasurer-Secretary : This person is responsible for all the financial aspects of the association like its income and expenditures, budget, bank account, and the preparation of daily orders.
  • Editorial Director : This individual is in charge of the site’s «En Manchettes » and « Dossiers » sections. They are responsible for the renewing of articles, and also the coordination of the other volunteers on their team.
  • Chief Editor : The editor is an appointed position. The individual chosen is in charge of the layout of the articles, their correction before publication and their translation. The editor works alongside the Head of Drafting. 
  • Information Director: Like the editor, the Head of Information has as their mission to generate ideas, sift through recieved information, and choose the editorial team of the association in collaboration with the Head of Drafting and the Editor.
  • Animation Director : This person oversees the AlterHéros Zone, its polls, testimonials, and everything directly linked to interacting with the site’s visitors. 
  • Promotion Director : An appointed position, the Head of Promotion is responsible for organising various events as well as the information kiosk. This individual works with a team of volunteers who are prepared to mobilise a few times a year to familiarise the public with our association.
  • Outreach Director: Outreach involves the question-answer service. The responsible individual must coordinate the drafting of responses to questions in a reasonable time-frame, and ensure to maintain a high degree of relevant subject-matter.
  • Development Director: This person is in charge of the maintenance of the internet site. In 2008 we hope to work on the development of a new platform : engineers and progammers PHP/AJAX are in demand!
  • Communications Director: This individual must manage the e-mails from the « Réseau d’entraide », the section « Communauté en bref », and « À la une .»
  • Marketing Director: This individual is responsible for finding financial support by putting our web-knowledge and internet traffic to use.
  • Sales Director: An appointed position, this individual aids the Head of Marketing in their sales strategy for advertising space to help finance the association’s activities.
  • Intern : This position is reserved for a new person who wants to be involved without having defined responsibilities. This person will discover how the association works and can eventually fulfill the mandate defined by the board.
Where? When?
The general assembly will be held in Montreal on April 5th, at 12:30pm. Visit our events calendar for all the details. The members will also be given advance notice of the date.

For more information we encourage you to visit our sections on « Volunteers in Action » and « Becoming a Member. » We also urge you to read our regulations and our annual reports from previous years.

We hope that many of you will come join us!

- The 2007-2008 AlterHéros team

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