Since I began serving our yearly meeting community as General Secretary, I have visited many monthly meetings, quarterly meetings and retirement communities. I have met with Friends across our geography, sharing my vision of a yearly meeting that is strengthened in our collective ministry through greater connection. I have shared my commitment to forming a yearly meeting staff that is a source of capacity building and facilitation. Throughout my travels, Friends have engaged me prayerfully and mindfully. They have helped me to season my vision, which is a reflection of the seven strategic directions we adopted during our 2014 Annual Sessions. As part of the progression of that discernment, I am now clear that changes in the structure of staffing will be required to move us closer into alignment with our strategic directions and the needs of our wider yearly meeting community. More specifically, I’ve held the following goals:
- Provide depth and integration as well as capacity to our development and communications functions which have been under-resourced and limited.
- Provide skilled leadership in supporting our staff to be anti-racist and multicultural in a way that integrates with the work of each individual staff person and supports some similar work for the governance councils.
- Increase the capacity of our staff, most of whom have too much on their plates.
- Allow the General Secretary to be less involved in day-to-day operations and be more outward facing.
- Adjust salaries where they are out of alignment with norms of nonprofits of our size in the Philadelphia region.
With these goals in mind, I have talked with PYM staff and with professionals in Quaker and non-Quaker institutions. I have contracted with a consultant who assessed our development work. I met with several members of our yearly meeting who have skills in fundraising. I worked with the Personnel Committee to thresh through many ideas. I worked with the senior staff to shape the ideas that came from this work. Concurrently, the Associate Secretary for Program & Religious Life has worked with our Quaker Life Council, monthly and quarterly meetings, parents, volunteers and program participants to ascertain the needs of families, children, and youth in our yearly meeting within the areas of spiritual development and religious education. Three sprint groups have or will be formed with the goal of determining a vision, mission and shared governance structure for youth programs. This discernment, in turn, will inform new staffing support for youth as well as young adult programming.
Changes to the staffing structure will be implemented going into the second half of this fiscal year. Given the current set of vacancies, I can implement the changes with the least negative impact on current staff people, and I can have a solid expectation that our finances can support the changes.
Description of Changes
The Communications and Development teams will move into a single work area supervised by an Associate Secretary for Advancement. This allows for an additional full-time staff person who can focus on sharing clear messages about Quakers and PYM with the world, as well as support these messages through our communications and our development work. The Director of Development position will be titled Director of Donor Engagement and will focus primarily on annual giving and connecting with our meetings to support their own development work. The Director of Communications will become responsible for bottom-lining technology choices and integration, a task that has not officially had a home. Under his new title, the Director of Communications & Technology will supervise the Database Manager and hold the integration of the database with other technologies (such as event registration and payment through our website). The Database Manager will no longer be responsible for data-entry and data changes, releasing her attention to focus entirely on how the database can be set up to most effectively evolve and serve the needs of program, grants, development and communications. A part-time position will input data and report to the Database Manager. These changes in Development and Communications will focus the responsibilities of each staff person while supporting our ability to better communicate about PYM.
Another area that is changing is Human Resources. PYM has had a part-time HR Coordinator off and on for about eight years. An organization of our size is in a tricky place with HR. There are enough employees that some skilled capacity is needed to meet the hiring, employee relations and benefits needs. But the level of support that is needed leads to a part-time position which would not qualify for benefits and is less attractive to well qualified candidates. In addition, it has become increasingly clear that we need staff support dedicated to anti-racism, if we are to do this difficult and complicated work. I laid down the former HR Coordinator position in December of 2016 to explore other options. After discernment, the option I have is chosen is to create a new position titled Director of Staffing and Inclusion. The Director will report to the General Secretary, as did the previous Coordinator position. It will also be part of the senior staff team. The Director of Staffing and Inclusion will be responsible for onboarding new staff, employee relations, and for moving us toward a culture of inclusion with respect to our staff community and the way in which each of us serves the yearly meeting. The position will also support anti-racism work logistics for the councils and the clerk. Depending on the successful applicant and how much of benefits administration I determine can be outsourced, the position will be 60% to 80% of full time.
The locus of administrative support in the office is shifting. An example of this is the addition of a part-time person in data entry who will also manage donor acknowledgements, shifting this work out of general office administration. Another example is adding part-time administrative support for Arch Street Meeting House for six months, at which point the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust will have a choice of maintaining the position, if it finds the position effective. A third example is moving support for the day-to-day administrative functions out of the General Secretary’s office. The Director of Staffing and Inclusion will supervise the Office Assistant, rather than the Executive Assistant to the General Secretary. The Executive Assistant position will move to 60% of full time and will focus only on the needs of the General Secretary’s office.
The final area where there will be a change is with the staff support for youth and young adults. In anticipation of possible changes, we hired interim staff in the two positions that had vacancies last year (Children’s Religious Life Coordinator and Middle School Friends Coordinator). Programming that supports families, children and youth has a large impact on our programming to support young adults, and our current staffing structure interlocks the support of this wide breadth of Quaker Life through the Youth & Young Adult Programs Team. These factors mean that any changes to staffing that supports youth will need also to include changes to staffing that supports young adults. Therefore, in favor of a different approach toward engaging with monthly and quarterly meetings more intentionally, the four coordinator positions that make up the Youth & Young Adult Programs Team will be laid down by the end of the current fiscal year. With the new fiscal year, staffing support of youth and young adult programs will include a single, full-time Youth and Young Adult Engagement Coordinator who works with a range of casual staff, rather than four part-time staff.
It has been a number of years since we reviewed the salaries and bands of the staff positions. The bands that we have used for salary ranges have become out of date; additionally, they are an outdated form of measurement. I reviewed the salaries and hourly wages of all staff with other associate secretaries and the Controller (who is assisting with HR at the moment). I compared salaries to bands that were updated for cost of living, to averages for non-profits of our size in Philadelphia, and to each other. As a result, I increased the salary or hourly wage of nine positions.
The changes to staffing structure described above have a real impact on the lives of our staff people. Some of the changes are positive, and they were easy decisions to implement. Others have come to individual staff members and to some in our community as unfavorable, difficult decisions. I am doing what is within my power to ensure that those whose positions were laid down or reduced have what they need to continue succeeding. I welcome any Friends with concerns to talk more with me. I will be holding conference calls on the evenings of Monday, March 6 and Wednesday, March 8 to listen, respond to questions, and offer further background information. I will be available at meals at the Spring Continuing Sessions (Saturday, March 25, Arch Street Meeting House) to listen and talk with Friends on this and any other yearly meeting topic. Friends who would like to know more about the discernment process regarding staffing and programs that support families, children, youth and young adults should contact Zachary Dutton, our Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will also be participating in the aforementioned conference calls should there be any folks with questions then.
When implementation of the staffing changes and their full impact is effective (by the end of the current fiscal year), we will be better able to meet our goals. Staff will have greater depth, integration and capacity, and our work around anti-racism will have more support. I believe that we are engaging together in a project of renewal, and it is my responsibility to carry this project forward as your General Secretary in the best way I know how. With the support, prayer and light of so many of you, I look forward to the upcoming work and witness of transforming ourselves and the world.
Current Staffing Structure:
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