Stewardship Program

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Stewardship Program Description

Forward: The program description has been written as a general outline of the program. 

The goal of the program is to improve maintenance and training on our equipment and areas so that the membership is better able to use these awesome resources.

Tool Stewards are members in good standing with expertise on the tool in question. Stewards and the stewardship program are managed by the President. To learn more about the current President’s (Crafty Rachel) management style please see the link at the bottom of this description to “How Stewards are Managed”. The President is also responsible for creating new steward positions based on operational need.

For more information on the leadership structures at AMT please see the AMT Org Chart.

Members wishing to be Stewards should contact the President.

Qualifications

  • The Steward doesn't have to be the most knowledgeable person at AMT on that particular tool, but they should be able to do most things on the tool and answer most questions
  • Stewards are leaders and should have leadership and delegation skills
  • Good communication skills and/or a desire to gain them
  • Be able to meet the responsibilities including time management and communication goals

All stewards are appointed by the President.

Responsibilities and Authority

Time Commitment

  • Spend a minimum of 2 hours a week and usually not more than 5 hours a week on maintenance, education and documentation.
  • Make a 3 month to 1 year commitment
  • Stewards are encouraged to make advanced arrangements for temporary replacement for any long planned absences. See the President for help planning for long absences.

Culture

  • Ensure that all decisions, plans, programs and documentation are in line with the Mission, Vision and Values of Ace Monster Toys
  • The Steward ensures plans, builds, and/or major changes to the tool or area have been approved by the Safety Steward and the President and other designated officers and consults with the appropriate subject matter experts
  • To behave professionally when interfacing with the public, members, officers and directors
  • To behave in accordance with the Mission, Vision and Values of Ace Monster Toys when dealing with members and non-members when representing Ace Monster Toys in any venue

Maintenance

  • Keeping up to date on the tool's status by documented periodic review of the tool log and by direct inspection of the tool
  • Reset the tool on a regular basis to a base configuration suitable for most users
  • Causing any periodic maintenance to happen (that is, anything other than maintenance that should be done at each use, which is the user's responsibility)
  • Appropriate use of org wide task and project management tools
  • Determining whether improper use is causing undue wear
  • Keeping an eye out on the wear and state of the tool and determining if replacement is imminent
  • Tracking use of tool consumables, if any, and keeping consumables in stock, if appropriate

Education/Supervision

  • Running or building training or training programs for other members to teach proper use and basic maintenance
  • Approving members to teach the tool and maintaining a list of approved teachers
  • If certification is required to use the tool offer regular scheduled opportunities for members to become qualified

Documentation

  • Managing the tool logs (digital)
  • Naming the tool, if they like
  • Checklist of good user behavior on or near the tool, and on the wiki
  • Ensuring complete maintenance instructions are available when expecting others to contribute to maintenance
  • Ensuring that all tools and or components of the tool are properly documented in the asset tracking system and on the wiki
  • Ensuring newly certified members, if required, are communicated to the Secretary in a timely manner
  • Ensuring that members authorized to certify others are communicated to the Secretary in a timely manner

Spending

  • Purchasing consumables, repair parts, educational materials or safety equipment (Reimbursable. All approved out of pocket expenses are reimbursable.)
  • Ensure that all spending falls with budgeted allotments in the following three categories:
    • Education Support
    • Safety and Improvement
    • Consumables
  • Ensures that they get pre-approval from the President for all spending from the major project budget or outside the three program specific categories
  • Ensures they get pre-approval from the President for all fundraising campaigns where matching is expected
  • Communicates future budget needs in a timely manner

Use Standards

  • Making decisions about maintenance and usage of the tool
  • Defining the use policy for the tool (i.e. who may use it, when, recommending cost, if certification is required, etc), and coordinating approval and implementation of the policy with the President
  • Authorizing qualified members to perform tool use certifications
  • Ensure that consumables parameters for the tool are balanced appropriately between users and the org

Member Services

  • Responding to email/slack inquiries about the tool within a reasonable time
  • Ensuring that the membership is notified and can access the status of the tool
  • Engaging and informing the membership in significant build outs or outages
  • Communicate all major build plans, function changes and policy changes to the membership in a timely manner
  • Steward may choose to hold Meetups around their tool for members and the general public

Responsibility Exceptions

  • Setup, cleanup, configuration, or maintenance for any user other than themselves outside of regular maintenance is not required
  • Teaching *all* new users is not required, a reasonable offering is desired
  • Any accidents, malfunctions, injuries, or damage to the tool while any other person is operating it - each individual user is still fully responsible for their own use

Resources

Tool Training/Mentorship

In some cases, tool training or mentorship may be provided to the steward including:

  • When potential steward need their skills rounded out to be successful in the role
  • When adding to skill set of the steward would elevate the program or offering to members and the community

Marketing assistance

  • AMT will provide basic promotion of all educational offering as well as support for fundraising efforts as resources allow
  • AMT has a number of communication tools available to stewards to make fulfilling their member services responsibilities as easy as possible
  • Contact the Marketing Coordinator for specific marketing assistance

Purchasing

  • All purchasing is tracked and we provide training on expense reporting software as well as purchasing assistance via the President or Vice President.
  • Purchasing for new or replacement equipment is done primarily through fundraising after officer approval. (See Tool and Equipment Acquisition Policies [link to wiki page to be inserted])

Lockers

  • Tool stewards can have one small locker for free for the life of their stewardship. Contact the Store Manager or an officer to get a coupon.

Oversight/Feedback/Termination

The policies, decisions, plans and spending done by stewards are subject to reasonable oversight by Ace Monster Toys governance team, build plans and policy development in particular. The President is responsible for managing stewards. The process for providing that oversight by the officers varies by tool or area of stewardship but is discussed in detail at the time stewardship starts. Things that might require oversight by the President may include:

  • Review of new policies for members
  • Review of major policy changes for members
  • Periodic Spending review
  • Pre-Approval of spending from the Project/Matching budget


Feedback about performance and steward satisfaction is giving 2 to 4 times a year or as needed by the President. The typical review includes:

  • Things the stewards is awesome at
  • Things that may need improvement
  • Things that are working for the steward
  • Things that are not working for the steward
  • Any ideas or feedback that the steward may have for leadership


Sometimes things just don’t work despite the best intentions of members and officers. At any time the steward may step down as this is a purely voluntary position. There is no guarantee of stewardship. Ace Monster Toys may end stewardship at any time with or without reason. Dismissal from stewardship does not affect AMT membership standing in any way. While there is an expectation that stewards will commit for a minimum of 3 months there is no guarantee of stewardship for any duration.

Operational notes:

Often the president will fill in when there is no steward in order to keep the services provided by AMT from being negatively impacted.


Steward Managment

Forward: This section was written for the president and officer to use as a guide while administering the Stewardship Program including:

Rationale and decision making criteria for recruiting, managing and dismissing stewards

Recruiting/Staffing

  • The President is responsible for recruiting stewards.
  • When there are unfilled steward positions the President will fill in as is possible in order to keep operations functioning.
  • Our recruitment process is slow and intentional. With very few exceptions folks need to have been an active member of AMT for least 2 months prior to taking on stewardship. Those 2 months give the potential steward an opportunity to get a solid sense of AMT culture and operations.
  • We have a responsibility to provide potential stewards with a candid description of any situation they may be getting themselves into if taking on stewardship (machines in extreme disrepair, challenging users, etc.) along with a written role description and an outline of expected minimum time commitments.
  • Recruitment includes an interview/audition process with one or more officers and potentially other stewards. A good match with the operational goals of Ace Monster Toys as well as good interpersonal skills are as important as hard technical skills.
  • When we recruit we give the steward plenty of escape routes. If they realize they are not suited to a job during training they can either  decline the stewardship or ask to try another position. Don’t make them feel guilty about this.

Managing

Orientation

Starting off right is super important. Onboarding includes having an expense reporting account created as well as training on:

  • How New Member sign-up works
  • How to use the expense reporting software.
  • Best Practices for use project management software.
  • Exposure to how to request marketing help.
  • A thorough review on the mission, vision and values at AMT.
  • Exposure to the Steward Resources Kit on the wiki that includes helpful information about dealing with a variety of leadership situations.
  • A volunteer agreement (TBD once vetted by legal resources)
  • Policies on Stewardship and stewardship performance

Performance Feedback

As a responsible leader, the President provides regular feedback regarding performance and solicits feedback from the stewards as well. This happens at least 2 times a year for regular performance reviews. Off cycle feedback may also be provided in certain cases such as these examples:

  • A steward does something especially awesome
  • The policies and decisions the steward is making negatively impacts the service quality members receive and corrective action is needed
  • There is a complaint by a member (feedback ideally given by the Membership Coordinator and the President is kept informed of the situation)
  • The tool or area fails to meet the org’s safety standards
  • A policy, action or decision the steward makes puts Ace Monster Toys at legal risk

All feedback is recorded and kept by the Ace Monster Toys.

Corrective action

We have a responsibility to provide supportive and corrective actions when things are not working out. Records are kept of all reviews, improvement plans and results. Corrective actions include the following steps.


First Corrective Action

  • Verbal warning and written clarification of duties and expectations
  • The steward and the president create an improvement plan together, which includes specific behaviors to change and a timeframe for reevaluation
  • Other resources such as mediation services, additional training, or additional help may be accessed
  • The board is kept in the loop and provides guidance as they see fit

If the agreed-on improvements are not made,

Second Corrective Action

  • Written warning and clarification of duties and expectations
  • The steward and the President create a second improvement plan together, which includes specific behaviors to change and a timeframe for reevaluation
  • The plan is written down and signed by both parties, and given to the Secretary for filing
  • Other resources such as mediation services, additional training, or additional help may be accessed

The board is kept in the loop and provides guidance as they see fit.

The President will seek alternatives to dismissal when possible which may include:

  • Re-supervise
  • Re-training
  • Re-assignment


Some but not all of the things that may result in corrective action:

  • Failure to meet core responsibilities and duties
    • Example: Bob commits to visual inspection weekly but then doesn’t do it or log it for a month.
  • Failure to communicate
    • Example: Inquiries from members go unanswered for many days or not answered at all.
    • Example: Takes a tool apart for repair but doesn’t let the membership know the tool will be down.
  • Willful disregard for the directives of officers, especially in the matters of safety, risk management, and finances
  • Unprofessional behavior when interfacing with the community, members and fellow leadership team members
  • Lack of follow through on commitments and projects
  • Long absences without coverage (more than 2 weeks)


Dismissal

Sometimes corrective action and supports fail or a stewardship is no longer available. Although dismissing a volunteer, especially a steward, is clearly not a desirable task, it can be done, and indeed at times must be done. Stewardship is very important to the mission of AMT, and if the job isn't getting done or if the steward is lowering the morale of the other members, we have a responsibility to correct the situation.

This is what the dismissal process looks like:

  • The President informs the board of the decision to dismiss a steward. That information includes the rationale, and a record of previous corrective action.
  • An in person meeting is scheduled with the steward, the President and a third party.
  • The steward is informed verbally of the decision and thanked for their service and contribution if applicable.
  • A letter is also provided that the steward is asked to sign to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the dismissal.
  • At all times the interactions should be compassionate, professional and non-negotiable.
  • The rest of the team the person works with is informed of the decision.