The Obama administration is setting a good example for transparency and accountability -- and we want to make progress on those fronts too as we build out the Activist Network.
That will be easier once we have launched our social networking site, but in the meantime, we have been using Clubhouse and free tools from Google to share more information.
- All team charges and
grant proposals are posted here -- we're using a free tool from Google
called Google sites, and we have invited hundreds of Activist Network
team members to post content here and collaborative edit their
documents. With a few exceptions, teams have submitted their charge and
grant proposal with a Word doc and we have copied and pasted them in to
the site. More crude than elegant, perhaps, and most of the charges and
proposals aren't formatted -- they're just blobs of text -- but they're
We've embedded the google site pages into Clubhouse, so anyone who has logged into Clubhouse can view them, and team members who have been invited to share the site can edit these documents, or add new ones, all from within Clubhouse. (You also have to sign in to Google Sites.)
- All the grant proposals already announced have
been compiled into a spreadsheet -- this is another free tool
called Google Spreadsheets, embedded in Clubhouse -- so anyone can see
a brief description of each project, the grant awarded, and the support
team's assessments of the project's strengths as well as suggestions
- All the teams' budget status reports are
also posted -- again using a spreadsheet embedded in Clubhouse.
All transactions are recorded here, so you should always be able to
tell if your reimbursement request has been processed -- if so, you
should receive your check within 10 days, generally sooner.
You can also track your team's ongoing expenses, as well as how much of your budget is still available.
Note: These are unofficial reports. A good analogy would be your own personal checkbook balance -- you keep your records, and if all goes well, once a month, you compare your balance with that on your bank statement and it matches. The Club's Finance Department ("the bank") cuts the checks and maintains the official record, but they are not tracking individual team expenses, only the total expenses of the Activist Network teams. So once a quarter, or once a month when the volume of activity merits it, we will be reconciling our totals with the Finance Department's.
In the interests of transparency, we are also posting the other expenses of the Activist Network, such as the cost of the online community vendor and consultants, conference calls, and other miscellaneous costs. You can see that we have recorded very few transactions so far, but we expect that we will see more activity soon, and a second round of grants will be announced on May 1.
All reimbursement requests and invoices should be sent to me, John Barry, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sierra Club, 85 Second St., Second Fl., San Francisco, CA 94105.
We also welcome any comments, either by posting them below or via email.