A document written by the founder of Prosper community

Table of Contents


This playbook details how we do what we do and why. From volunteer
recruiting to new member onboarding, and from decision making to
conflict resolution—this Playbook expresses our core values, and
declares our critical assumptions. It is a central hub for Prosper as
individuals, the organization as a whole, and the community we aim to


We're a values-driven community, and find it important to express them
for new team members, and anyone interested in partnering with us. The
following values have arisen out of our journey as a community to
fulfill our purpose:


At Prosper, purpose is at the heart of everything we do. It is
constantly evolving and reflects each individual as well as the
organization as a whole. We express our purpose through our actions, in
our writing, and in our lives. Here is Prosper's current expressed
purpose: To help refugees prosper in Europe through human-centered
design and open-source technology.


We are a people-first organization. Prosper is a community of
individuals working towards a shared vision, supported by a shared
purpose, and motivated by shared values. When making decisions at
Prosper—no matter how big or small—people are the top priority:

  • What are the needs of the people we aim to serve?
  • How are we equipped to help serve their needs?
  • What are the needs of the people I work with?
  • How can I help serve their needs?

We believe people are happier when they are able to fulfill multiple
roles as opposed to being constrained by a single 'job title'. Our
organization is more flexible than other work environments because of
this and allows people to switch roles and fulfill demand based upon
their needs (as well as the needs of others).


At Prosper, we hold diversity as a key ingredient to the success of any
initiative. Innovation teams across the globe have proven the imporance
of diverse interdisciplinary teams. We believe it is important to
maintain diversity across gender, ethnicity, faith and discpline. At the
same time, we realize that differences amongst people can create
conflict. We value our ability to harness conflict as a vehicle for
constructive change.

Many of the people across Europe who aren't welcoming to refugees behave
this way because they are afraid of the change that refugees will create
in their culture and society. We want to embody the possibility of a new
European society: One that is founded upon the values of purpose, people
diversity and trust.

Our ability to solve complex problems as a diverse community is a living
demonstration of the Europe that is possible when we help refugees


Trust is the basis of all that we do. We believe that people are good by
nature and deserve to be trusted (unless proven otherwise). We
understand that people are imperfect, and thus forgiveness is an
integral element in our foundation of trust. We trust any employeeto
make any decision within the organization provided they follow the
advice process. We trust people to set budgets, choose their salary, and act in the best interest of the company.

We invest a lot of money and attention into how decisions are made and
how conflict is resolved. That investment thrives in the trust we place
in one another.


At Prosper, we believe that everyone has something to teach and
something to learn. Alone we can do nothing, but together, nothing is

Fostering a healthy and constructive learning environment is crucial to
our work in the refugee crisis. The problems we face are complex and
immense. These problems require radical collaboration where the
intelligence of the whole organization takes hold. Learning new skills,
new communication methods, and new tools is an ongoing process at

We want each member of our team to learn something new every single day
and to share that learning with the rest of the team and with the


Projects are the main vehicles for our community's mission to help
refugees prosper in Europe. We are currently working the following
projects as a community:


For information regarding this project, please see the following
resources below:


Taskforces are the initiatives focused on improving, maintaining and
growing the Prosper community. Here are the active taskforces at

new team member {#new-team-member-taskforce}

We have a New Team Member task force dedicated to helping new team
members join Prosper and thrive as contributors. It is comprised of
three roles:

  • Recruit
  • Assess
  • Onboard

Whether joining as a volunteer, apprentice or mentor—we focus a lot of
our attention in how we attract and welcome new people to the team. We
want to do our best to help new members become confident contributors—no
matter what experience you have or what skills you offer.

If you are looking to contribute to the New Member task force, check out
the Trello board Prosper Taskforce: New


The recruiting task force is responsible for creating shared
understanding about Prosper's purpose, vision and values. This is all
about creating and maintaining relationships with passionate
professionals who share our purpose. If anyone is attracted by our
collective journey they are asked to fill out the form on the
Volunteer page of our website.

After someone submits the form on the Volunteer page,
it is now in the hands of the assessment task force.


The assessment task force is responsible for monitoring the Request to
Volunteer Form

and assessing whether the person who submitted a request would be a good
fit for our community.

Through the information provided in the form response, the assessment
task force is basically trying to answer a few questions:

  • Does this person have the skills, passion and experience to contribute to Prosper Projects?
  • Why do they want to join Prosper?
  • Do they exhibit humility and a desire to learn?
  • What kind of weekly time commitment can they offer?

If the assessment task force determines they are a good fit, it is time
to onboard them to the community.


The role of onboarding is to add new team members to our community and
to help them apply their skills to Prosper Projects.

The onboarding workflow is a three-step process:

1. Send Email Invitation

The onboarding taskforce uses the Prosper Onboarding Email

and customizes as they see fit before sending to the new team member.
This is a simple and friendly email with a link to the Getting
checklist and an offer of

2. Add to Tools

Here is a quick check list for onboarding personnel to reference when
adding a new team member to Prosper's tools:

3. Offer Help

If the new team member is able to join Slack, the onboarding personnel
to reach out in a private message and offer to help them apply their
skills towards contributing to Prosper Projects.

If the new team member doesn't join Slack, the onboarding personnel is
expected to follow-up via email as an offer of help.


Volunteers make a specific time commitment to Prosper in regards to:

  • how much time per weekthey volunteer
  • how many monthsthey'd like to work with us.

We usually recommend starting with a small commitment of time per
and increasing involvement organically if necessary.

Knowing how many monthsa team member is with us helps set
expectations with project teams and task forces. It also allows for a
clear and solid resolution to each person's involvement with Prosper.

At the end of each volunteer's commitment, we ask them whether they'd
like to commit to another chapter with us or if we can celebrate their
involvement and help them move onto their next destination.

80/20 principle

We encourage Prosper team members to invest their time as follows:

  • 80% on projects
  • 20% on task forces

the 80/20 principle


Once a team member has been onboarded onto Prosper and is up and running
with all the tools necessary to contribute, they're asked to introduce
themselves to the team on Slack and offer their services to any of the
existing projectsand/or task forces.

We encourage Prosper team members work in pairs to accomplish any given
task. This facilitates peer-to-peer learningwhile maintaining
transparencyand accountability. Given most Prosper team members are volunteers who have full-time jobs, it also ensures that the task
will be completed in a timely manner.

Whenever a task is assigned to a pair, we also like to set reasonable
task deadlines. We want people to maintain a healthy work-life
and also to complete tasks efficiently.

assigning tasks

Rather than delegate tasks to volunteers, we allow volunteers to assign
themselves tasks from the projector taskforcebacklog. This helps
maintain an open atmosphere where each contributor can work on the tasks
they deem most desireable.

task review

For a vast majority of tasks, we like to perform a peer reviewbefore
marking the task 'complete'. Task reviews help us maintain the highest
level of qualityfor each contribution. Whether the task relates to
design, development or content—a second pair of eyes is always valued.

Given our community has a wide spectrum of experience and skills, it is
important that we view tasks as an opportunityfor learning and
growth rather than an obligation.


Because of the complexities that we face as an organization, our ability
to communicate is integral to our success. We like to define several
explicit communication protocols when it comes to decision makingand
conflict resolution.

decision making

We follow in the footsteps of other Teal organizations in employing an
advice processwhen making decisions in our organization.

The advice process is simple: Any employee can make any decision within
the organization provided they consult the advice of all potentially
affected parties. This includes other employees, vendors, stakeholders,
shareholders, the community and the environment.

Failing to adhere to the advice process is one of the only behaviors
that warrants dismissal from Prosper. We trust our employees with great
responsibility and we expect the advice process to be followed at all
times. The advice process applies to everyone within the organization:
volunteers, paid staff, founders, etc.

conflict resolution

Unlike other organizations who avoid conflict and have no formal
processes for resolving conflict, we adhere to a strict conflict
resolution procedure. Whatever the topic, the process starts with one
person asking another to gain agreement:

  • As a first step, the two people in conflict meet to try and resolve the situation privately. The initiator makes a clear request for a solution (not a judgement or a demand). The other person responds clearly to the request with either a "yes" or proposes another solution.
  • If the two people can't find a solution, they choose a colleague to help mediate the conflict.
  • If the mediation fails, a relevant group of colleagues is gathered to listen and help form agreement between the two conflicting parties.
  • As a final effort, one of the founding members of Prosper can be brought into the conversation to provide additional moral weight.



We use Slack, a world-class team communication app, to speak to each
other in real-time from across the globe. Slack is a very useful and
versatile tool that allows us to group conversations into relevant
channels and teams. It also provides a central place to share files. We
connect Trello and Github to the Prosper Team on
. For
team members who need some guidance getting started with Slack, please
see Slack Help Center.


We use Trello to manage projects. It is a simple tool that is built upon
a few basic models:

  • boards
  • lists
  • cards

We have a Trello board for each project at Prosper. We use lists to
structure our tasks under the
Kanbanmanagement technique. We create one card for each task, and assign relevant team members to each
card so we know who is responsible for each task in progress.

Each new team member should be added to the relevant Prosper Trello
If you've never used
Trello and want some guidance, check out Trello Help



We use Github to collaborate on all of our code-centered projects. Our
website and playbook are available as open-source projects on github:
solve-the-refugee-crisis. If you're looking to contribute, you'll want to get comfortable using
Git and Github.

you can book me

Prosper has an account at youcanbook.methat
allows team members to easily schedule and reschedule meetings with
internal and external parties. This is especially useful for scheduling
interviews with potential team members.


Prosper uses Lastpass to manage secure
credentials like usernames and passwords.


Prosper is built on the power of human community. We operate in global
(digital) and local (physical) communities—this combination is integral to our organizational identity. The problems we propose to solve rely on
strong local communities supporting people in need. These local
communities are then supported by distributed digital communities across
the globe.

We believe that digital relationshiops should enhancethe power of
in-person relationships—not replace them.

digital communities

Here are a list of the digital communities that help support Prosper:

If you are a member or leader of a digital community and would like to
add your community to this list, please feel free to fork this project
and submit a pull request on the Github
, or send
us a

local communities

Here are a list of the local communities that help support Prosper:

If you would like to organize an Prosper Meetup in your local community,
please see the 'Organizing a Local Meetup' section below. Please feel
free to contact
you need support. Once you have a meetup group, we would be happy to add
it to the list.

Organizing a Local Meetup

These are meant to act as useful guidelines for organizing and
facilitating a successful Prosper meetup.


We carefully consider the purpose of each Prosper meetup event. We have
found that the best meetups occur when diverse groups of people come
together under the umbrella of a shared purpose. How we articulate that
purpose is crucial. It should be the seed from which all else grows.


Having a meetup that represents a diverse range of audiences tends to
facilitate the most healthy conversations. Consider creating a list of
target audiences. This could include:

  • Designers
  • Developers
  • NGO staff
  • Refugee Community Organizations (RCO)
  • Refugee representatives
  • Refuge / asylum seekers
  • Refuge / asylum providers

The right location and physical space for the meetup is key. A meetup
venue which is welcoming, comfortable, spacious and convenient would be


There are many organizations with funds, materials, time and space.
There are fewer organizations willing to donate those resources to good
causes, but still—those organizations do exist. It can be helpful to
create a list of potential sponsors and what you'd like to ask from
them. Rather than cold-calling people you don't know, it is almost
always easier to go through your existing connections.


Facilitation is key to a meetup's success. Depending on the purpose of
our meetup event, we might employ different facilitation methods. If the
purpose of the event is to facilitate conversation around how digital
workers could help solve the refugee crisis—we've been successful with
both one of these techniques:

Open Space
Lean Coffee


Prosper Playbook was inspired by Thoughtbot's