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Help Wanted - Do you want to be (on a) "Board"?

Updated: Jul 3

The founding Board

We often get asked how people can volunteer for the Rockville Bike Hub (RBH). If you're mainly interested in learning how to work on bikes, or sharing your bike repair knowledge, then the obvious answer is to come to Open Shop Hours. We always have donated bikes to work on and we appreciate having knowledgeable volunteers available to help people who bring their bikes in to be fixed or evaluated. However, in this blog post, I'd like to focus on the other opportunities for volunteering.

To illustrate where we could use volunteers, I'll describe what the basic duties of our current Board members are and also describe the other tasks that that we perform which could become the purview of a separate volunteer (shown in bold).

President - the essential functions of the President of the Board is to make sure things get done and to make sure volunteers and other Board members have the resources needed to get things done. The President doesn't need to actually "do" everything, but ultimately, if something doesn't happen, the responsibility falls back on the President. However, since we are a small organization, as President, I have needed to do other things. I have functioned as the de facto "Shop Operations Manager" making sure the basic functions of the shop stay on track. This involves making sure we have the consumable supplies we need, organizing the shop, and coordinating with groups like Bikes for the World when we have bikes that we can give to them. I also am the primary person prioritizing the work getting done - which bikes to fix and what will happen to them. This is done in consultation and coordination with other Board members. A large aspect of the work prioritization is my function as the "TERRIFIC Kids Program Coordinator." This involves keeping an inventory of kids bikes in various sizes and determining where more fixed bikes are needed. It also involves moving bikes between the shop and our storage facility in Redgate Park. Once the City of Rockville starts receiving registrations for the TERRIFIC Program, I estimate the bike sizes needed based on the children's heights and use that to prioritize, or reprioritize the bikes to be fixed. This function also involves coordinating with the City for the actual bike giveaway. Since we get many of our kids bike donations from the Rockville Trek store, and since I have a vehicle capable of transporting a dozen or more bikes, the TERRIFIC Kids work overlaps with my role as "Trek Bike Donation Coordinator." The Trek store in Rockville takes trade-ins of kids bikes in their trade-up program. Rather than trying to sell the used kids bikes, they donate them to RBH. The store also will take adult bikes the owner no longer wants when they purchase a new bike. Periodically, the limited space the Trek store has for storing those bikes gets filled, and I get a text from the store manager. This is usually about once a month. It involves going to the Trek store, putting the bikes into "storage configuration" (i.e., taking off pedals and turning handlebars), and then transporting them to the shop or other storage location. Part of this can also involve doing some quick triage of the bikes and deciding what program or purpose they would best serve. I have acted as the primary "Grant Writer/Administrator." this involves looking for appropriate grants and writing the grant application in coordination with other Board members. Since there is always a financial component to a grant application, the Treasurer also plays an important role in the application process. Another major role I have filled is the "Montgomery County Bike Collection Event Coordinator." Since 2016, we have worked with Montgomery County DOT to run a bike collection in October in coordination with the County's Volunteer Month. The main tasks have been coordination with the County and the Board on the date of the collection, arranging for the rental of a box truck to transport bikes to storage, and pulling together the basic tools to "process" the bikes for storage. This also involves helping to load and unload the truck and drive the truck. Coordination of RBH's support for Tour de Cookie could fall under a "Special Event Coordinator" role. Other special events fall under that role, such as coordinating RBH's participation in Bike to Work Day, the Gaithersburg Fix-It Fair and the Rockville Salute to Nonprofits, along with support for other charity bike rides if that arises.

In addition to the above roles, I have helped support the Treasurer with filing State sales tax paperwork and with the yearly Federal and State tax and nonprofit filings required. I am also often the person responding to emails that come into the RBH gMail account acting as part of a "Stakeholder Engagement" function. Blog posts, newsletters are part of that, along with the functions of the "Public Relations Manager" described below.

Vice-President - We currently do not have anyone in this role, but the primary responsibilities would be to back up the President and help the President see that things get done.

Treasurer - This role is a very important one in any organization. The primary responsibilities are to keep track of income and expenses for RBH (basically balancing the checkbook), file State sales taxes and ensure that any other State and Federal tax filings are done. Connie Bertka is our current Treasurer and a founding Board member. In addition to her Treasurer responsibilities, she has been the primary Montgomery County Transfer Station Coordinator. We are one of the nonprofit organizations allowed to get bikes left at the County Transfer Station. We are given 2-3 days each month where we can go and get bikes. We generally use only one of the days we're allotted, and the effort takes a few hours. Because of safety concerns RBH needs to designate individuals who are permitted to pick up bikes for the organization and there is safety training required. Connie has also acted as the Montgomery County Bike Match Program Coordinator for RBH. This involves working with the Shop Operations Manager to determine which bikes will get donated to the Bike Match Program, coordinating with County staff to arrange delivery of the bikes to the county office building and transporting the bikes. We have usually provided the County with around 3 bikes per month for this program. Another role Connie has is "Inventory Manager." This involves periodically inventorying our new parts like chains, tubes, tires, cables, housing and other parts we keep in stock to fix donated bikes, especially those for the Rockville TERRIFIC Kids program. Keeping on top of other consumable supplies such as rags, Simple Green and lubricants is also part of this role with the support from others working regularly in the shop. Keeping track of bikes sold is also part of this role in coordination with the "Online Sales Manager" (see below) and "Shop Operations Manager".

Secretary - Currently unoccupied, this position is responsible for taking notes from monthly Board meetings and providing those notes to the Board so that tasks do not fall through the cracks. Steven Nightingale, one of our founding Board members acted as Secretary until he moved back to England after he retired. This is a rather mundane task, but it would be helpful to have a centralized record of discussions, decisions made and action items assigned at Board meetings.

Public Relations Manager - Sophie Chan-Wood is our current Public Relations Manager. The primary responsibilities are to manage our social media posts and look for ways to expand RBH's public profile. In addition to that role, Sophie has acted as RBH's "Website Administrator". While any of us on the Board can write and publish a blog post, or recommend changes to the design and content of the website, Sophie acts as the "gatekeeper" for the site. Sophie manages the calendar on the website and posts events on our Meetup group as the "Meetup Group Manager." She also acts as our "Online Sales Manager". This involves taking pictures of bikes and other accessories, and posting them for sale on Facebook Marketplace or other sites. This role could expand if we had a volunteer dedicated to it. RBH could maintain a better inventory of fixed bikes for sale and this person could help improve and maintain our list of bikes for sale on the website.

In addition to all of those defined roles, we all try to help with keeping the shop clean and orderly, help come up with ideas for programs or events we can support, talk to people at the shop or in the community and describe what RBH does, and take pictures during events. All of us trying to act as "Event Photographer" can sometimes be tricky because we all get busy at events and remembering to take a picture can easily slip our minds. We have a volunteer who has offered to fill this role, so hopefully we'll have a better variety of pictures to use on fliers, and on the website.

As we grow, and in support of the Special Event Coordinator role, a Volunteer Coordinator could be a helpful function. This could involve creating an online sign-up and sign in system to more easily track volunteer hours. This information may be helpful in grant applications and in administering grants. In addition to, or in support of the Grant Writer/Administrator role, a broader Fundraising Coordinator role could be valuable. Smaller fundraising events would be a valuable part of ensuring RBH has a multi-facetted income portfolio. To support our Treasurer, a Bookkeeper/Accountant role would be beneficial, especially if RBH income grows and requires more detailed tax filings.

Any of the roles that I put in bold above are fairly discreet activities or roles that could be taken on by another volunteer either as a Board member or as an individual volunteer with support from a Board member. Contact any Board member or email us a if you are interested in helping in some way. Other ideas are also welcome, but keep in mind that ideas are most helpful if they come attached to a person willing to help.

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