OWASP Leader Town Halls - Leaders as Members


Andrew van der Stock

Monday, March 28, 2022

I have scheduled three Leader Town Halls this coming Thursday to cover all major time zones to discuss the changes required by our new AMS platform, YourMembership. From an organizational governance perspective, members are the owners of the organization, and that’s why we require Board members to be paid members. Leading governance practices often require that non-members should not be able to make decisions or lead an organization.

“A formal membership organization is a nonprofit that grants its members specific rights to participate in its internal affairs. These rights are established in the articles of incorporation and defined in more detail in the bylaws. Usually in a formal membership organization, members elect the board and/or the officers; approve changes in the bylaws; and authorize major transactions such as mergers and dissolution of the organization. In short, members have a strong interest and voice in the future of the organization and not only in the tangible benefits that they may receive as members.”

OWASP is practically unique in currently not requiring leaders be members since its inception. All the AMS systems we evaluated, and the one we selected, have a deeply built in requirement that self-service group (chapter, project, committee, etc) management is reserved for members, so it is not possible for us to avoid this issue any longer.

There are several ways it could be managed, some better than others.

OWASP needs something that can implemented by the AMS, simple for our leaders, members, and staff. Whatever policy change is decided needs to be legal and privacy respecting.

We must avoid manual processes at all costs, as otherwise migration will be costly, slow, and likely painful for active leaders. As there are 850+ unique leaders and 66% of them not being a member, any manual processes created by this policy change must manageable by leaders and our staff of one, and able to be completed in a timely fashion. I want to avoid the pain created like when we migrated to our current website. This restriction is likely to make some of the policy options far less desirable.

Please choose the best time in your time zone if you want to learn more about how Leader membership will need to change:

  • Leader Town Hall 0700 US EDT https://www.meetup.com/owaspfoundation/events/284630976
  • Leader Town Hall 1300 US EDT https://www.meetup.com/owaspfoundation/events/284631152
  • Leader Town Hall 2030 US EDT https://www.meetup.com/owaspfoundation/events/284631193

If you RSVP’d early, please grab a new calendar invite from Meetup, as it now contains the above links to the Zoom rooms.

As time is short, we need to divide up the “leader as member” policy change required by the AMS, and future membership model (such as “pay what you want”) discussions. If there’s time at the end, I’m okay if there is a membership model discussion after we’ve discussed the main topic.