URSSI sustainability officer?


Someone at the first URSSI workshop (sorry, I forgot who) suggested that one of the roles that an URSSI institute should have is a sustainability officer, meaning a person who’s role is to think about and plan for the sustainability of the institute itself. This could be a part-time role, and it perhaps could be combined with a community manager role.

I think this makes sense, and am recording it here

  1. to have it recorded somewhere
  2. to see what others think


I think that there’s a big difference between “thinking about and planning for” the sustainability of the institute and “implementing plans for” the sustainability of the institute. Fundraising/development work is a full-time job, and I’m not convinced that something as important as the long-term sustainability of the institute should be set on the shoulders of a part-time person.

Also, community management, while certainly involving very important networking and relationship-building work, is not necessarily especially aligned with fundraising/development work.


Agree 100% and want to echo what Gina said. And think that in general, all the projects could use some more clarity on the various “management” roles.

  • I think of the community management role about growing and nurturing the community of users, contributors, and maintainers and facilitating the communication between the two. This is more about the code of conduct and figuring out people’s needs…guiding the of educational materials and new features in the code. I’ve been told this is sometimes called the “Product Manager” in industry.

-There needs to be another role, someone has called the Sustainability Officer, but I think is often called the CEO, who thinks about finding new sources of funding and growing the project strategically. I’ve been thinking of this title in my head as the “Project Manager” but a little googling reveals that is not the right title either. Just googled “Sustainability Officer” and that’s someone who thinks about environmental impact, so that’s not right either. After more googling, I think the best industry descriptor of the job I’m thinking of is actually the CEO. We need a different title, but I think this emphasizes how important this role is. One quote, “The sustainable growth of the institution is the CEO’s responsibility and legacy.”

So yeah, this is a SUPER IMPORTANT role. and I do think it could be part-time, it should not be combined with the Community/Product Manager Role.

Further, the strategic planning of the institution/project is also different than Development/Fundraising. These are actually two roles which I think could be more reasonably combined but it’s important to recognize that they are indeed two different jobs.