Membership Committee Workflow

Be Prepared

Have a quick read of the former threads on the Membership Committee mailing list to get an idea of how all this works.

Tip: have a chat with the former chair!

Committee Members Selection

Chair send a mail to the Membership asking for nominations to shape the next Membership Committee.

After having collected 5-7 names, chair takes this list to the Board for official approval.

Tip: to grant some positive continuation of the committee process, is useful to include some former committee members.

Chair updates the Membership Committee mailing list subscriptions purging old and adding new members.

Finally, chair sends a note to the Communication Team leader to have a news item published on the new Committee, and a personal note to each new member.

The Process

Finding Good Applicants

Here is how the process starts: the chair sends a mail to the Membership to ask them to identify good candidates for Foundation membership.

The chair can also post on the forum, IRC, and various other mailing lists to drum up attention. 

The message can be "Please look around you and think about the impressive people you've worked with in Plone or know of, and look at to see if the persons you're thinking of are Foundation members. It's surprising who isn't yet a member! Ask them, twist their arm, take them for a refreshment, and get them to apply."

The chair can also actively seek out applications. It seems to work better for us when we look to our personal networks and the teams we work with. A generic call for membership applications has not met with good response rates.

Foundation membership is a way for us to thank people who have a longstanding record of positive contributions to the project. That can be in the way of code, tests, designs/themes, graphics, marketing, writing, documentation, training, organizing, leadership, hosting, funding, granting work release time.

As the chair is notified of interest, the chair should work actively to ensure that the application contains as much detail as possible.

The chair should verify that the application does not get forwarded to the rest of the committee unless that detail is there and the application appears likely to get approved by the committee. This prevents the potential embarrassment of the applicant, because rejection is a very hard thing to take, and can lead (and has led) to the person's leaving the project entirely in reaction to the rejection.

If the chair is aware of submitted applications that are not very detailed or that appear unlikely to get approval from the overall committee, the chair should contact the applicant and explain that their application needs more detail or perhaps needs to wait until the applicant has had more opportunity to contribute. The chair should then let the applicant know that their application will be retracted discreetly, to give the applicant time to add more detail or to contribute further to the project before resubmitting. If the applicant chooses to ignore the chair's recommendation, the chair can of course allow the application to go to the committee, where it is likely to be rejected.

Committee Process

  1. When there are applications in the queue at, the chair sends an email to the committee with the list of applicants and links to the applications. (cfr. this mail as a sample)
  2. The chair calls for a quick straw poll via email, to identify any immediate consensus and/or any applications where discussion or more information may be needed.
  3. If there is immediate consensus on all applicants, the chair can take a formal vote and then go to the Board with recommendations.
  4. If not, the Committee can discuss for a few days, seek additional information and then call for a final vote.
  5. Chair sends a note to the Board mailing list and takes recommendations to the next PF board meeting.
  6. Chair sends a note to the Communication Team leader with the names of the recommended persons and biographical information in their application to allow a news release to be written.
  7. The Board votes (typically in accordance with the recommendations).
  8. Chair notifies successful/unsuccesful applicants (cfr. this mail or this mail as samples), transitions workflow states of their applications appropriately, asks the Secretary to add the new members to the membership email list.
  9. Chair sends a note to the Communication Team leader to have a news item published on the new members.


Rejections are hard to take. The chair and committee should take great care in rejecting an application, because a rejected application represents a failure of communication shared by the chair, committee, and applicant. Applications should not be rejected lightly, because they can lead to and have led to the person's leaving the Plone project and community entirely.  

If at all possible, informal means of communication should be used to have the applicant retract (and amend and/or improve their application, or wait until they've contributed more). The committee should reject an application only if the applicant has been informed of the problems with their application, has refused to retract it themselves, and insists on having it go to the committee. 

If an application must be rejected, it should be communicated to the applicant in a constructive way, with an explanation of why their application was rejected and the way(s) in which the application could be improved (add more detail, we appreciate your contributions however they're not quite yet in line with the level or number of contributions of other Foundation members).


Simply take votes via email as +1/-1 (0 is permitted in the initial straw poll).

An application requires a simple majority to pass, but in practice we rarely have close decisions, and is suggested to take a close initial straw poll vote as an indication that more information about a person is needed.

The Membership Committee doesn't have formal meetings with agendas, it just conducts periodic votes via email, then the chair brings the recommendations to the Board.

Transition to New Chair and Committee

At the edge of a cycle, the former chair adds the new chair to the Membership Committee mailing list as a Manager, and gives permission on the Committee area on