As Coordinator of your working group, you have a leadership position in YSI. You are a point of contact for new members and can play a big role in helping them become acquanted and engaged in the community. When they submit project ideas, you review them first. You are also encouraged to organize projects yourself, especially if your group does not have a lot of active organizers yet.
Understanding YSI's Governance
The YSI Guiding Principles outline the basic premises on which we build our community and conduct new economic thinking. They were drafted through an elaborate process in 2013, and represent a positive expression of the global, inclusive, and open environment we are building.
“We envision economic thinking that is free of intellectual barriers, resonates with reality, and serves our global society.”
As a coordinator, you help create an environment that upholds our values of being inclusive, respectful, humble, collaborative, and non-partisan.
Standard of Operations
The YSI Standard of Operations formally outlines the operational structures, roles and responsibilities in YSI, in order to ensure its continued growth as a volunteer community. Page 11-12 specify the coordinator responsibilities as follows
Represent the working group, and serve as the primary point of contact towards the community, in particular new members, as well as external partners and YSI management.
Coordinate, support and facilitate intellectual exchange amongst all projects happening within the working group; review and approve new project proposals submitted to them.
Involve interested members and appoint new organizers who are interested in taking up organizational responsibilities.
Build and maintain relationships with mentors, external partners, and other stakeholders.
Take the lead on drafting the working group mandate, set the overall direction and strategic plans for the working group and develop new project ideas with working group organizers.
Maintain an environment and culture in the working group that is open, welcoming and productive as outlined in the YSI Guiding Principles.
Ensure continuity by sharing their experiences, expertise, and best practices with incoming coordinators and organizers.
Manage the working group’s communication channels.
Work with the Community Report Committee (CRC) and YSI Management.
Here is a powerpoint that you can use to help partners and young scholars learn more about INET, YSI, and how we run projects.
Here is a two-page PDF that serves as a flyer for YSI. You are welcome to make prints outs and share it with potential members or partners.
Your Working Group mandate
When representing YSI, your working group mandate is another helpful tool. Direct members to your working group page to view it.
Growing your group
Run Strategic Projects
If your group needs to build traction, it can be helpful to put on your organizer hat and initiate a webinar series, reading group, or another project that can give you exposure to new members and partner organizations. You can also collaborate with another working group and learn what’s worked for them.
Pay attention to follow-up
Often times, it is a current project (whether in-person or online) that can spark ideas for the next one. When members share ideas, make sure follow up with them via email or Discord afterwards, and encourage them to realize the project in your group. Don’t let too much time go by – get them moving while the idea is fresh.
How to build engagement
Some group have had a lot of success with a cyclical engagement model. They hold regular meetings (e.g. every two weeks) to read books together and discuss amongst themselves. And then every two months or so, they invite a high profile scholar to speak, which helps to attract new attendees. Some of those attendees then stay to participate in the regular meetings, building a growing, consistent group.
Talking to new members
Involve your own community
The easiest place to start is your existing network. See if you can collaborate with your home institution or department, and draw in your friends and acquantances. Or create a project together with another organization you are part of. YSI is a great way to build bridges between the different institutions of our field.
Invite them to a webinar
For new members, a webinar is the easiest place to start. Encourage them to participate, or simply listen in. If there are no upcoming webinars scheduled in your Working Group, you can suggest they attend one in another working group to get the idea.
Maintaining communication channels
When to send News?
The News feature sends an email notification to all members of your working group. You can use it to call for organizers, to invite members to your mandate meeting, or to share resources that would be relevant to your group’s members. But use it mindfully, don’t spam your members 🙂
How to stay on top of email?
The easiest way to manage your working group’s inbox is assign the responsibility to one person at a time. You can then switch every few months if needed. This way you avoid the issue where you think your co-coordinator responded while they thought you did. If you can’t access your WG’s inbox, contact the YSI Management Team.
What about Discord?
Discord is a new tool in YSI. It is a chat system that is similar to Slack, and we encourage you to try it out. If you are willing to give it a go, it can be a powerful way to connect with your group’s members, with the YSI management team, and with other coordinators.
Should our group have a Twitter?
Some groups have found it very helpful to run a Twitter account. They use it to advertise projects and attract new members and organizers. You can take a look at the Economic History Working Group or the South Asia Working Group. If you’d like your group to be on Twitter, contact the YSI Management team.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little push in the back. A member may have ideas, but think they are not ready, or not good enough. Your encouragement can go a long way. Encourage them to start small (e.g. with a one-time webinar or a simple reading group) and help them build their confidence along the way.
Ask others to help you organize
Learning by doing is the easiest way. If you are organizing a project, involve someone else to help you. Involve them in your process, and give them some responsibility. This way, they will build confidence to run their own project next time.
How to make someone an organizer
When you scroll down to the bottom of your working group page, you can add members to your list of organizers. When you add someone to the list, they gain access to the Organizer Zone on the website, including the Start a Project portal.
What are mandates?
Setting the mandate is an annual process in which to determine your working group’s interests, strategies, and projects you’d like to do. Your mandate should compel your members to propose and join projects; it’s like a ‘call for projects’.
It outlines your WG’s:
- Key research questions / themes
- Projects and projects ideas (including special projects)
- Partnerships and important organizations (with organizations and journals
To gather input for your mandate, you will hold a meeting. Make sure to invite your organizers to contribute. Maintain an open atmosphere, ask everyone for input, and collect the suggestions in a collaborative document. Make a copy of this template for a helpful guide.
Your final mandate is submitted to the YSI management team, and then gets shared publically on your working group page.
Reviewing Project Ideas
Organizers will to come to you with project ideas in conversation, on Discord, or via email. If the idea is feasible you may encourage them to put their idea “in the system” via the Start a Project portal.
When reviewing a project idea, ask yourself
- Does this fit with my working group? Or would it be better in another?
- Does this project maintain non-advocacy?
- Does the organizer maintain individual authorship?
- Does the project help grow/enhance engagement in the group?
- Is the project quality up to par? Language, completeness.
- Are my own opinions getting in the way? Don’t veto another school of thought.
If the organizer is new…
Suggest that they attend an organizer training and encourage them to review the Support for Organizers page before they get too far along. If they still have questions, answer what you can, and direct them to the YSI Management Team for the rest.
Invest in your organizers
Your organizers are the future of your group. If they are not in the loop, or there aren’t very many of them, see if you can re-engage one person, then two. There is nothing more effective than a one-on-one conversation with someone who shows an interest. And once they are active, they, too, will bring in new members and ideas.
Document what you did
Ideally, the work you put into your group will live on after your term is up. It can be very to helpful create email templates, contact lists, and write your processes down, and store it in a Google drive that can be passed on to the next set of Coordinators.
Nominate your organizers for Coordinator
When your term is up, the YSI management team will ask your for input on who might be willing and able to replace you. Your suggestions will be considered very seriously in the selection process. Make sure to keep an eye out for organizers with Coordinator potential, and tell them about the role well in advance of a spot opening up.
Supporting organizers along the way
Serve as a point of contact
After you have approved an organizer’s project idea, it’s theirs to run. You technically need not do anything else. The organizer will be able to create, publish, and run their project on their own. They can also request a copy-editing and promotional help from the YSI management team.
But knowing that you are there to answer questions if needed can help the organizer a lot. Especially for first-time organizers, a bit of support goes a long way. Check the project idea submission to see if the organizer is new and offer a little guidance if you can.
If you have not organized a lot of projects yourself yet, make sure you familiarize yourself with the Organizer Support section as well.
Working with YSI Management & Community Board
YSI Management is part of the INET office, and is responsible for the administration of the entire community as well as the organization of larger projects and events. You will have a point person within the YSI Management team and will liaise with them on behalf of your working group.
YSI Community Board
The Community Board is an elected body of experienced YSI members. It advises the working groups and YSI Management on broad community developments and the health of the community. If there is an issue or concern you have that you prefer not to discuss with YSI Management, you can contact the Board.