Feasta consciously designed itself to be non-hierarchical and have a flat system of governance, with the minimum passing through the office. Almost every activity has started because someone was enthusiastic about a particular topic and was prepared to work on a project unpaid, at least until funding could be found. Feasta’s role, and thus that of the Executive Committee and the office, is to enable these people, or groups of people, to do things which they would find it harder to accomplish on their own. Part of this role entails putting them in touch with people with similar interests who might like to get involved.
The board of directors is elected by the members at the AGM. Apart from their duties under company law, the directors’ role is to keep an eye on the general working of the organisation to make sure that it stays true to its aims and works in the interests of its members. Directors cannot be paid under Irish charity law. The day to day running of Feasta is undertaken by the Executive who are appointed by the Directors. People are invited to join the executive because of their interests and experience. Anyone leading a major project will be on the Executive for at least the period that the project is being carried on and another member of the Executive will be asked to keep a close eye on the project on behalf of the rest of the Executive, so that two opinions about it are presented to the committee. The Executive meets every month except August and December for about 2.5 hours, although its members will be in touch with each other by e-mail and phone much more frequently. It works by consensus and has never taken a vote. Of course if there are problems the Directors can step in and remove an executive member or arbitrate on a dispute. This power has never been needed to date.