Reps as mobilizers in the Mozilla Community

TL;DR

This is a blogpost that explains what Mobilizer in Mozilla Community is and how Reps would potentially fit in this role. Right now we have defined the mobilizers as a group of trusted, aligned and committed mozillians that are interested in:

  1. finding and connecting new talent with Mozilla projects
  2. growing in their mobilizing and coaching skills
  3. supporting their local communities and the rest of the organization to reach their goals and be more effective and
  4. creating collaborations with other local communities in an effort to expand Mozilla’s mission and Mozilla’s outreach in the open source ecosystem

Definitions:

  • trusted: Mozillians will feel good sharing information intended just for internal use and they keep it that way.
  • aligned: We refer as alignment or aligned to the people who have a clear understanding on where Mozilla is right now, what are the current needs/priorities for the organization and as a result they plan their activities to bring value to these high level goals.
  • committed: People with proven past record on their accountability and support to the activities delivered inside the organization.

Background

When we introduced the mobilizer word in Reps community a lot of people were confused. What does being a mobilizer mean? And what does that mean for me as a Rep? By trying to give an initial answer we realised that every person had a different interpretation to the word, creating different expectations. What we failed to realize was that in fact Reps have already been walking the mobilizer path for a year now via the RepsNext changes.

This blogpost serves as a way to shed some light on the questions above. It is also trying to initiate a discussion inside Reps. We’re proud to call ourselves a volunteer lead program, thus we need to discuss in the open about the path we are taking and its implications for the program. We haven’t finalized any role descriptions or role responsibilities. This is something we need your help with in the comments below.

What does being a mobilizer mean?

Mobilizer is a term that we have started using only recently. From the wiktionary, a mobilizer is a person that mobilizes something or someone, basically the one that is moving things or people forward.

In Mozilla we have struggled a lot in the past on bringing coordination inside the communities and also connect with other communities with the purpose of serving Mozilla’s mission and goals. In the past we have partially solved this with creating the Reps program, however it was never clear that this was its purpose. So what does actually being a mobilizer mean?

A Mobilizer in the Mozilla community is a trusted, aligned and committed Mozillian that is interested in:

  1. finding and connecting new talent with Mozilla projects
  2. growing in their mobilizing and coaching skills and
  3. supporting their local communities and the rest of the organization to reach their goals and be more effective
  4. creating collaborations with other local communities in an effort to expand Mozilla’s mission and Mozilla’s outreach in the open source ecosystem.

But what is going to be the result/output of those efforts?

The purpose of Mobilizers’ actions is to build healthy communities and connections that will serve Mozilla’s goals as well as specific functional team goals.

How does Reps fit in that role?

When we’ve built the program 7 years ago we came with a simple definition:

“The Mozilla Reps program aims to empower and support volunteer Mozillians who want to become official representatives of Mozilla in their region/locale.

The program provides a simple framework and a specific set of tools to help Mozillians to organize and/or attend events, recruit and mentor new contributors, document and share activities, and support their local communities better.”

At the beginning we were aiming to give volunteers a way to officially represent Mozilla around the world. But the program evolved to be so much more. Over the years, Reps found a structured way to become the bridge between the Mozilla Corporation, Mozilla Foundation and the volunteer community. They became the backbone of the community, they helped to build structured communities and to bring more contributors to the project. Mozilla is competing in a very aggressive environment however we have a key differentiator, and that is our volunteer community. During the past years Reps have been the key to unlocking this huge potential and provide value to Mozilla goals. So even if it is not in our description, Reps are the ones that unofficially took the role of mobilizing their communities and help them align with Mozilla’s goals.

The transformation from an events program to a community building program (RepsNext)

As mentioned on the definition of Reps, it has been given to the participants of the program: “a specific set of tools to help Mozillians to organize and/or attend events” and it was this specific set of tools and resources that enabled hundreds of Reps through the years to conduct thousands of events in order to spread Mozilla’s mission.

However, Reps are not only about events. Of course events are a great tool that enables us to bring more contributors and awareness to Mozilla. But we came to the realization that even though events were great, we needed to use them in a way that they would be something more than a one-off effort. As we were growing, we found the need to use our resources better and to use them in order to serve Mozilla’s goals instead of just spreading awareness. And last but not least, we needed to give the resources to our community not only on how to manage budget but also on how to build and support healthy communities, how to coach new contributors and how to build connections.

We saw the need to evolve and a year ago we introduced RepsNext, a project that has already brought great changes and that will still have a long way to go.

What if a Rep doesn’t want to be a mobilizer?

Being a mobilizer is an exciting, great step for Reps. However, we recognize that there are Reps that don’t see themselves as such, and this is completely understandable. That’s why we are building a strategy for Reps that don’t want to continue that path and want to focus on core functional work activities. A strategy that recognizes their contributions, efforts and enables them to volunteer in the Mozilla world and keep representing Mozilla as core contributors.

So what do you think?

  • Does the mobilizer role feel like the natural evolution path for Reps?
  • And what else you would like to see?

Please leave your feedback on the discourse topic.

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