Got Questions? We've got answers
Got Questions? We've got answers
##Q. Where are you located? San Francisco, California. We meet weekly for Civic Hack Nights at Code for America Headquarters at 155 - 9th Street (between Mission and Howard), San Francisco, California.
##Q. Why are you called a “brigade”? We picked up the term from old fire brigades, volunteers who did important work for their towns, who organized themselves, and who took pride in and earned respect for their contribution to civic life.
##Q. Does Code for San Francisco have paid staff? No. We’re 100% run by our volunteers for now.
##Q. How is Code for San Francisco organized? We have historically had a Core Team running the brigade. We’re creating better defined, more accountable teams focused on brigade outputs (e.g. launching projects or running hack night) rather than siloed individual roles, all in support of the organization. While a little awkward to say, these teams are designed to push towards a specific output, which requires consistent cross-team communication. As Teams produce results, they will adapt, both in name and structure, to fit evolving organizational needs.
Members of most teams will initially be asked to serve for four months with a default option to renew every four months afterwards – we know volunteers have busy lives and we’re making it as easy as possible for new people to step up and in, yet still commit to consistent involvement.
Teams will operate semi-independently with day-to-day decisions being taken at the individual Team level and larger strategic decisions being coordinated with the Executive Team to help the organization move in a more-or-less unified way. Teams will be fully empowered to act how they see fit to reduce the need for bureaucracy, especially among a group of volunteers.
Most of our volunteers outside of the Core Teams work on a project teams. Teams talk to people with a civic problem, work with those people to design solutions, build and test the solutions, and then promote their use. Project teams nearly always need a diverse group of skills, including developers, designers, marketers, project managers, and, most importantly, someone to engage the people using whatever the team is building.
Some of our teams organize around a service or event instead of building software. For example, one team organizes San Franciscans to test civic software for usability and performance. Another set of folks have run our public events like the CityCamp Oakland unconference.
##Q. What is Code for San Francisco’s relationship with Code for America? Code for America (CfA) supports us through their Brigades program, including regional support staff, a planning process, and some events for brigade organizers. CfA works to get us non-profit discounts on or free use of technology and offers their time to process reimbursements, manage our finances, and run helpful webinar trainings. We are looking to house some of these things internally to help the brigade run more smoothly.
##Q. What is Code for San Francisco’s relationship with other brigades? We share open source apps with each other, most often through github. We share ideas on our instant messaging tool (Slack), on the brigade e-mailing list, and use #cfabrigades in social media. We’re starting to cooperate within California in quarterly meetings, the first in October 2014 with Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland attending.
##Q. What is Code for San Francisco’s relationship with the City of San Francisco? Code for San Francisco and the City are friendly and independent. We would like to do more with the City, but it’s tough for them to engage a group of volunteers. The relationship is evolving and we’re getting to know how best to work together over time. City staff and elected officials often come to our Hack Nights and other events.
##Q. How do I apply for one of these roles? Review the jobs available on this site, then use the application form embedded on each job posting. If you’d like to lead one of our functional teams, check out our /jobs page for role descriptions. We are asking new leaders to commit to meeting weekly on their own teams and monthly as a full group of leads. Meetings may take place outside of the normal hack night schedule.
##Q. How long do people serve in a leadership role? Initially we’re asking people to serve for four months to test out the role for themselves, and we hope most people will want to renew for the next quarter.