Letter of Understanding

date________________________

Name________________________________________________________________ Address______________________________________________________________   Re: Volunteer Regional Contact Agreement Dear Regional Contact, This Letter of Understanding (“Agreement”) sets forth our agreement regarding Your responsibilities as a Volunteer Regional Contact (“Regional Contact”) for the _________ Region (“Region”) on behalf of Black Rock City, LLC (d.b.a. “Burning Man”). In signing this Agreement, You agree to act as the Regional Contact for Your Region. In doing so, You agree to assume the basic responsibilities outlined in the Regional Contact Role Description attached as Schedule A and the Standard Terms and Conditions attached as Schedule B. Additionally, in serving as a Regional Contact, You agree to adhere to the core values outlined in the Statement of Principles attached as Schedule C. Although You will primarily function as a Regional Contact for Your Region, there may also be opportunities to work jointly with Burning Man in other ways, such as producing events. The terms of any such work will be outlined in separate agreements. To assist You in Your role as a Regional Contact, Burning Man will provide You:
  • Access to the on-staff Regional Coordinator and Special Events Coordinator to answer questions and provide information.
  • An announcement list for Your Region ([email protected])
  • A document on how to administrate the regional announcement list using e-mail commands.
  • Access to Burning Man staff members, event organizers, and other regional contacts, and the valuable information they have accumulated in the course of their work.
  • An @burningman.com alias for Your Region, and technical support.
  • A local page on www.burningman.com to highlight activity in Your Region and attract new participants in your community.
  • Ongoing regional web page support.
  • A document on how to administrate an on-line local calendar.
  • Permission to represent Yourself as a Volunteer Regional Contact to participants in your region and at the Burning Man event.
  • A collaborative online environment (Extranet) to share knowledge and work with other Regional Contacts.
  • Listings for your Regional events in the Jack Rabbit Speaks—space permitting and at the discretion of its editors.
  • Access to programs, content and connectivity tools that will help build regional activity, such as the “Burning Man Film Festival in a Box” and talks given by Burning Man staff.
  • Referrals to local resources concerning basic legal issues, and, when possible, advice and guidance from our staff.
  • Membership in the Black Rock Arts Foundation (“BRAF”) and eligibility to serve on its Grant Advisory Committee.
  • An annual ticket to the Burning Man event in appreciation for Your leadership in Your Region.

      Sincerely, Accepted by:

      _______________________________________________

      Burning Man LLC Member

<name>

Date:_______________________


Schedule A 

Regional Contact Role Description

 
A Regional Contact’s (sometimes referred to herein as “RC”) role to build a Burning Man community in a local area. An interest in attending Burning Man is not necessary for someone to be a member of a regional community. While Black Rock City during Burning Man is a physical and temporal manifestation of the community, it is by no means the entire experience. It is a way of life, and a way of looking at the human condition, and is not limited to the yearly gathering in the desert. While much of this role is defined by the individual, what follows is a practical description of the actual tasks You agree to undertake as a Regional Contact. Communicate with Burning Man – The connection between each RC and the Burning Man Project is an integral part of the Regional Network program. Communication with the Regional Coordinators on the Burning Man staff is vital to the success of the Network. Answer email regarding Burning Man – Burning Man will provide Regional Contacts with an email alias ([email protected]) which is listed in the Regional section of the Burning Man website.
  • The RC is the first point of contact for many participants, potential participants, and sometimes, local media. Those who contact an RC might be first timers seeking information from a friendly local voice, experienced burners looking to connect with others, or simply the curious.
  • It may be helpful when answering these emails to create a standard response that can be tailored to answer individual questions.
  • The letter should contain information about some basic resources in which participants might be interested: how to subscribe to the Jack Rabbit Speaks, local announce and discussion lists, information on upcoming gatherings, etc.
  • When answering questions about the event, it is always best to direct the person to a specific page at Burningman.com using an URL, so that they might gain a greater context and be inspired toward further research.
  • To do this well, you are expected to become familiar with the content and features of Burningman.com.
Administrate and moderate an announcement list – Burning Man will establish an announcement list for each Regional’s area ([email protected]). This list is an important tool for keeping the local community notified of events, meetings, collaborative projects, and other postings of interest to the Burning Man community. Events need not be limited to “Burning Man events” actually produced by the Regional. We encourage diversity in the type of information you disseminate. Anyone can send a post to the list, but each message routes through the RC for “moderation”, so that the regional may review and approve or decline these posts. The RC should avoid posts that are inappropriately personal. The RC should also avoid posts that are politically partisan, unless such posts affect the survival of Burning Man, a regional event, or an issue the RC and Burning Man agree furthers the principles expressed in Schedule C of this document. A document is sent to each RC demonstrating how to administrate this list using email commands. Administrate a discussion list (if desired) – Many communities enjoy the social connectivity that is provided by an email discussion list. If the RC so desires, s/he may establish a list using a free service, such as Yahoo! Groups or Topica, or run one on his or her own server. At this time, Burning Man’s server resources are not capable of running every Regional group’s discussion list, but we will list instructions for how to join local discussion groups on a Regional’s page, where applicable. In many areas, discussion is very active and can range off-topic; in others, discussion is light and limited to Burning Man-related talk. It is up to the local community and the Regional Contact to moderate this type of environment to fit their desires. If a Regional Contact is interested in a discussion list, but is not satisfied with these options, Burning Man will consider hosting the list for the region on the Burningman.com mail server on a case-by-case basis. Administrate a local event calendar and web presence on burningman.com – Each region with a RC is given a web page to promote the community in their area. A questionnaire is sent to each new Regional to enable them to construct this page, which provides information on the Regional Contact and the their community, including how to subscribe to local lists. In addition, each page contains a calendar for posting events in the area. The RC administrates this calendar to monitor the events posted for their interest and appropriateness to the community. Develop and maintain a working knowledge of Burning Man – A familiarity with the structure of the Burning Man organization assists many Regional Contacts in their own endeavors to organize people, and answer participant questions. It is necessary that an RC be subscribed to the Jack Rabbit Speaks; that s/he develop a familiarity with the Burning Man website; and that s/he—unless otherwise agreed upon—attend the event at least once within a two-year period—preferably every year. The RC should read the annual Afterburn Report to understand the event’s production and infrastructure. Help facilitate collaborative projects – A portion of a RC’s task is to bring people together around projects on and off the playa. This does not mean that the RC must necessarily be the one to start or run such projects; rather, the RC should also encourage those who want to do projects that invite collaboration. Knowing the members of the local community, their interests, and their skills can help facilitate these connections. Bring the local community together at least once a year – Real life contact is a vital part of creating and building community. RCs are NOT required to plan big events or parties. Hosting a simple gathering at a local coffee shop to share pictures and stories is a highly effective community builder. However, if there are people in the area who wish to put together larger events for the local community, the RC’s affiliation and participation in the planning are encouraged. Note that any event that wishes to be designated an “official” regional gathering may be designated so only if the RC is actively involved — especially when proceeds are gained from charging an admission price. Funds from such events should be routed to benefit the local regional community and the Burning Man community at large. For example, regional groups sometimes use this money to seed future events and art projects, fund server space for local websites, award local ticket scholarships, and to make donations to the Black Rock Arts Foundation or the Burning Man Regional Network Program. Currently, use of the name “Burning Man,” “Decompression,” “Black Rock City” or “Flambé Lounge” in association with a public event requires prior approval from Burning Man. Represent Burning Man Locally – Distributing information about Burning Man brings vital new energy to the community. By sharing newsletters, stickers, videos, and other information, Regional Contacts can reach a whole new audience of prospective community members, as well as illustrate the Burning Man ethos and culture to many who will never attend the desert event – bringing the experience of radical self-expression to a much larger audience. Burning Man will—at its cost—ship these materials to the Regional Contact from time to time for distributing in appropriate venues (example: a local community center or art school) or at Regional events. Represent Burning Man To The Media – RCs may represent themselves as a Regional Contact to members of the media, and describe activities in their area, or their own experiences or observations about Burning Man. When doing so, it is important that the Regional keep in mind – and express to the questioner – that they are not speaking as a representative of Burning Man. Questions of an official nature (such as information about the organization, official population counts, inquiries into medical or criminal statistics, political negotiations, human resource issues, etc.) should be directed to the Regional Coordinator. Collaborate with other Regional Contacts – It is required that RCs subscribe to the Regionals’ Discussion List, so that all Regional Contacts can share ideas, problems, and success stories with one another. By using the Regionals section of the Extranet, Regional Contacts can facilitate learning, collaboration, filesharing, and develop team rosters and other resources. Future plans include the creation of an online archive of this list for easy access to previous discussions and information.  

Schedule B

Burning Man Standard Terms and Conditions 

  1. Regional Contact hereby acknowledges and represents the following:
    a. Burning Man shall retain all right, title and interest in its intellectual property and other proprietary information, including, but not limited to, its name, trademarks, speaker materials, contact lists, phone numbers, e-mail lists, and similar private information, policy documents, and all other proprietary information, whether or not translated into other languages. Regional Contact shall not, by virtue of this Agreement, acquire any right, title and/or interest in or to any proprietary information except as expressly granted herein solely for the purposes of this Agreement. b. Regional Contact will not reproduce, distribute, use or otherwise exploit any Burning Man intellectual property, or proprietary information, including its name, trademarks, and proprietary technology, without Burning Man’s prior written permission to do so on a case-by-case basis for specifically agreed upon uses and periods of time. c. Regional Contact acknowledges that all information acquired while working with Burning Man, including, but not limited to, processes, costs, name, logo, trademarked designs, contact lists, phone numbers, e-mail lists, and policy documents constitute confidential and proprietary information (“Confidential Information”). Regional Contact shall not reproduce, disclose, distribute, sell or otherwise communicate or exploit any Confidential Information without Burning Man’s prior written approval.
  2. Nothing in this Agreement shall be deemed to create a partnership or other relationship between the parties and it is understood that Regional Contact is executing this Agreement as an independent entity/organization and not as an employee or partner of Burning Man. Regional Contact warrants that it has and will retain the exclusive control of the means, methods and details of fulfilling his/her obligations under this Agreement. Regional Contact agrees to perform and discharge all its obligations in accordance with all applicable laws, whether existing or future, including Social Security Laws, State Unemployment Insurance Laws, Withholding Tax Laws and the payment and report of any taxes and contributions under these laws.
  3. Each party warrants and represents that each has the full right and power to make and perform this Agreement. The Letter of Understanding and the Schedules thereto shall become effective upon execution. The Agreement will remain in effect for an initial term of one year, and Regional Contact agrees to serve for the entire term unless terminated by Burning Man for the Regional Contact’s failure or inability to carry out its duties under the Agreement. The Agreement shall thereafter automatically renew for successive one-year terms unless or until terminated by either party in writing. This Agreement constitutes the entire understanding of the parties and supercedes all prior agreements, relating to the subject matter hereof. In the event of a dispute arising hereunder, the prevailing party shall be entitled to reimbursement for costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. Regional Contact agrees to indemnify Burning Man and its successors, agents, employees, insurers and representatives, from all liability arising out of regional activities and/or the Regional Contact’s actions concerning regional activities. Regional Contact acknowledges that the Regional Contact Role Description, Statement of Principles and Burning Man’s Standard Terms and Conditions are incorporated by reference herein this Agreement (collectively, “Schedules”). Regional Contact further acknowledges that Regional Contact has reviewed the Schedules and accepts the Schedules in their entirety.

      Sincerely, Accepted by:

      Burning Man LLC Member <name>

Date:_______________________ Date:_______________________

 

Becoming a Regional Contact

So you’re interested in being a Regional Contact? Great! We’ve taken some time to outline the steps in the process of becoming a Regional Contact for Burning Man – if you are interested in learning more about this role, please familiarize yourself with the steps below. If you ever have any questions about the Regional Network, please email [email protected]burningman.org. Please note that we are not able to schedule interviews from the end of May through September. As summer ramps up, we must shift our focus to making Burning Man happen. This doesn’t mean that we don’t want to hear from you, but we do request your patience and understanding during our event production crunch time.
  1. Perhaps you are hailing from a region that does not currently have a Regional Contact or maybe your local Regional Contact is stepping down or needs some additional support. If you are interested in the Regional Network and the Regional Contact role, please email [email protected] to let us know you are interested and to learn more. We will respond and send you additional information. Please be aware that the interview queue to be a Regional Contact can be quite long. You may have to wait for a period of time before an interview can be scheduled.
  2. The Regional Selection Committee will review and determine its ability to support the addition of a Regional Contact in your area. In some cases, an applicant may be asked to enter into a mentorship with a neighboring Regional Contact to engender a connection to the Regional Network and facilitate the develop of local community.
  3. Be sure to familiarize yourself with both the Letter of Understanding, the Ten Principles and the Regional Contact Leadership and Criteria Expectations before you contact us.
  4. If you are responding to an open call for Regional Contacts that has been posted to a regional announcement list, we will allow two weeks for people to see and respond to the announcement.
  5. After the initial two weeks for response, we will enter a community feedback process. The names of all potential Regional Contact candidates will be posted to their local regional announce list along with a link to a confidential feedback tool so we can hear from others in that region about each candidate.
  6. Either during or after the community feedback process is complete, a formal interview will be scheduled with a member of the Regionals Committee. This interview may take place via phone or in person and generally takes about an hour.
  7. Once all interviews have been completed, the Regional Contact selection team will meet to determine/select the new Regional Contact(s).
  8. After the new Regional Contact has been selected, all candidates will be contacted to inform them of the decision. After that, a formal announcement will be made by the Regional Network Administrator to the local announcement list to let people know the outcome of the process.

About the Regional Network

The Burning Man Regional Network is the year-round embodiment of the Burning Man experience, supporting it as a global cultural movement. In cities around the world, the Burning Man Project has established Regional Contacts whose role is to help local Burners connect with each other, while bringing Burning Man principles and culture into their local communities. As they are the local representatives of the Burning Man Project, Regional Contacts are carefully screened, interviewed, and selected by members of the project staff. Further, they are bound by a Letter of Understanding that expresses their agreement to assume the responsibilities of the role, as well as their commitment to Burning Man’s Ten Principles, which represent the core values that define the Burning Man culture. Regional groups produce a variety of events and activities throughout the year for their Burner community, which are listed on each group’s Regionals Calendar. From simple mixers to multi-day camp outs and everything in between, these events are intended to create an immediacy of experience and personal connection, encouraging relationships and collaborations that enable people to act more powerfully than individuals alone could dream — especially in the face of the daunting social realities of the “default world”. Regionals leverage technology to facilitate regular communications, including announcement and/or discussion email lists. Through these, co-located (if not physically proximate) Burners can keep the flame alive through dialog, collaboration, and inspiration. Not everybody has the opportunity to get to Black Rock City. But with the Regional Network growing steadily year after year, more and more people around the world will have the opportunity to experience Burning Man culture. And, perhaps, it will change their lives too. Get involved … participate … find and get in touch with your closest Regional Contact today.

Complaint and Feedback Procedures

The members of the Burning Man Regionals Committee recognize that however hard we may work to support the Regional Network, we cannot be everywhere at once — and the real experts on local Burner communities are the people who participate in them all year long. We value your feedback and are always interested to hear how things are going in your area — and whether your feedback is positive or not-so-positive, we encourage you to contact us and let us know your thoughts. If you have praise, observations, or a comment about your area’s Local Contact or a Regional event, or if you just want to share an update about your local community, we want to hear from you! Please send us an email at the Regional Feedback Email and let us know your thoughts. If you have negative feedback and wish to submit a complaint, we ask that you review the following process before submitting. SUBMITTING A FORMAL COMPLAINT If you’re aware of local conflict or issues related to your Regional Contact, and would like to register a formal complaint, you may do so using the Regional Feedback Email. Before you submit your complaint, please take the time to review the Regional Contacts Letter of Understanding and the Leadership Criteria Document so that you can first understand the actual requirements of the role. Be prepared to provide us with information about how you feel that your area’s Regional Contact has failed to meet the duties of his or her volunteer role, as well as background on your involvement or relationship to the regional contact or to activities in your local region. Not infrequently, we find that a one-to-one disagreement with a Regional Contact is rooted in a simple misunderstanding about about the role. For example, we might hear, “Our regional contact hasn’t thrown a Decompression in our area,” when in fact there is no requirement or obligation for a Regional Contact to throw such an event unless he or she wishes to be involved. We are best able to utilize feedback that is as specific as possible about the nature of the violation of the terms of the Letter of Agreement and the role itself, so please take the time to review that information before you submit your complaint. Once we receive a formal, detailed complaint, we will notify the Regional Contact(s) that it has been submitted, and we will conduct a full formal investigation into the situation. As fellow members of the Burning Man community, we do require that you identify yourself to us when submitting your complaint; however, if you request confidentiality, your name and identifying information will only be used for internal purposes and will not be revealed.
  1. Burning Man will contact and speak with anyone who is involved in or named in the complaint to get a written statement.
  2. Telephone interviews and follow up will be conducted as appropriate.
  3. In rare cases, an in-person visit from a member(s) of the Burning Man staff may be deemed necessary to continue investigation and/or help to mediate disputes.
EXAMPLES OF TYPES OF COMPLAINT
  • Failure to uphold the Ten Principles (e.g., Radical Inclusion, Civic Responsibility)
  • Misuse of community funds or failure to account for funds raised at events under the official rubric of the Burning Man Regional Network
  • Misuse of community resources (e.g., promoting a personal project as “official” or at the expense of other community projects; “farming” local announce list addresses for outside or commercial purposes, etc.) or of one’s position for personal gain
  • Inappropriate use of or interpretation of position (e.g., inappropriately representing one’s Regional Contact role as one of authority or governance over others) or abuse of authority
  • Inactivity or failure to respond to inquiry for an extended period
POSSIBLE OUTCOMES If after investigating the complaint, it is determined that the Regional Contact has failed to uphold the duties of the Role or has violated the terms of the Letter of Agreement, a warning or reprimand may be issued, based upon the severity of the complaint. In less extreme cases, specific feedback or areas for improvement will be noted; in some cases it may be necessary to place the Regional Contact on probation until agreed-upon improvements are made, or to terminate the Letter of Agreement at Burning Man’s sole discretion. In any outcome, a formal statement will be made to the local Burning Man announce list to let the community know the complaint has been investigated and what the outcome is. Relevant local discussion lists will also be notified as appropriate. In some occasions a Local Regional Contact may be placed into a probationary period rather than being removed from the role. Burning Man will work with the Regional Contact to outline any changes or actions that need to take place in order for them to retain their status as an official Contact. If it is determined that the terms of the probation have not been addressed after a set amount of time, the Regional Contact may be removed from the position. A formal statement will be made to the local announce (and discussion) list to notify the community of the outcome or decision. On some occasions, Burning Man may at its discretion opt to address a complaint by adding Co-Regional Contacts in an area to help balance the load of the role and add additional levels of oversight or assistance, or to add representation from diverse subsets of a local community. In these instances, we will conduct open call to the local Announcement list for new candidates, and our standard interview and Community Feedback process will be used to assist in the selection of the new Local Contacts. A formal statement will be made to the local announce (and discussion) list to let the community know the outcome. Though a volunteer role, a Regional Contact is an official representative of the Burning Man Project; as such, he or she is expected to represent the Project in a positive light and to contribute an enthusiastic effort to uphold and further the principles of Burning Man in the world. The Letter of Understanding is a legally binding document between a Regional Contact and Black Rock City LLC. By signing this document, the Regional Contact has agreed to uphold the terms within it. There are many legal and community-building reasons for taking complaints seriously. Depending on the nature of the complaint, Regional Contacts who violate their agreements may be putting themselves or the Burning Man Project at legal or personal risk. To secure the future of the Burning Man Regional Network, it is necessary to take formal steps to investigate and deal with issues of this nature. PROCESS FOR APPEAL If a Regional Contact wishes to appeal the decision of the Regional Committee they may do so by contacting the General Regionals Email.