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The Drupal Association

Back in early February I got myself elected to the Drupal Association (DA) board. Last week, I attended my first board meeting in Denver at DrupalCon. It made me feel a whole lot better about this new role, because until then, I'd not really had a chance to do anything. Other than agree the DA should open a bank account in Europe so we can better deal with European currencies and events.

All board agendas, info packets, and meeting minutes are accessible in google docs.

Firstly, it was really great to meet the rest of the board. Only one member was absent, so I look forward to meeting him at some point in future. This was the association's first public, open, in person, board meeting.  Transparency is a key tenet for the new Drupal Association, and open board meetings are an important part of how we're going to strive to create a more open and transparent organisation.  Nedjo Rogers made a great post explaining the history behind the "new Drupal Assocation"

I tried to live tweet the meeting too, but was only partially successful at that. We had some official business to attend to: Dries signed some documents (to go ahead and open the previously agreed bank account), we went through the financials, looked at the great work done by some MBA Students at Portland State University on exploring ways the DA could diversify it's revenue base, and generally got an update on all the projects and initiatives currently underway. Angela "webchick" Byron presented the results of her research into how we might actually meet our goal of improving Drupal.org - the beating heart of both our community and the project itself. Vesa Palmu tabled a draft working proposal on external drupal brand marketing that had come out of one of the BoFs at the conf.

I asked questions, and listened attentively to the thoughts offered by fellow board members. I made stupid remarks based on my ignorance, and was politely asked to hold my tongue a couple of times so we could get through the massive agenda ahead of us.  That's nothing new, people have been asking me to be quiet since primary school. ;) I know I spoke more than I should have, and not as intelligently or eloquently as I would have liked. But it was a start. I'm looking forward to making my time on the board over the coming months as useful and effective as possible.

The Drupal Association? So, what is that exactly?

The stated mission of this US non-profit organisation is:

The Drupal Association fosters and supports the Drupal software project, the community and its growth.

The Drupal Association does this by:

  • Maintaining the hardware and software infrastructure of Drupal.org and other community sites.
  • Empowering the Drupal community to participate in and contribute to the project.
  • Protecting the GPL source code of the Drupal project and its community contributions.
  • Protecting the Drupal project and community through legal work and advocacy.
  • Organizing and promoting worldwide events.
  • Communicating the benefits of the Drupal software.

The Drupal Association is funded by memberships, donations and proceeds from events such as DrupalCon.

The Drupal Association has no authority over the planning, functionality and development of the Drupal software.

I've highlighted some of the key words and phrases I think are most important.

Over the past month and a half, since being elected to the board of the Drupal Association, I've been thinking about this mission statement, asking questions, and listening to key members of the community.  I got a huge opportunity to do a whole lot more of that at DrupalCon last week in Denver. [sidenote: which by the way, was brilliant. Sadly, I didn't see a single session, so I'm looking forward to catching up by watching the videos here http://blip.tv/drupalcondenver ]

Mission statements can be deeply meaningless, unless we have a common understanding of what they're really trying to say.  I spent some time looking at definitions of "foster", as I suspect that word was chosen with great care.  It's a great word. It means to nurture, to help grow, but it also implies a duty to do this without ownership of the thing being fostered.

The Drupal Association does not own Drupal, the association serves the Drupal community.

There is a strategic plan of action for 2012, which was set in December, before I joined the board. If you've not yet read it, I really urge you to take a look, and participate where you can.  This is what the team at the DA will be focussed on this year, alongside putting on DrupalCon in Munich and Sao Paolo. There were many other things considered at the board retreat. But strategy is as much about stating what you're not doing, as on what you are. This way we can better focus our energy and resources.  This is not to say those things are not important, just that we have to prioritise the use of our limited resources.

This year, those priorities are:

  1. Improve the collaboration tools on drupal.org and make it rock for developers
  2. Organize "Drupal Day" global trainings to solve talent issue
  3. Drupal as a career choice through University Programs
  4. Directory of all trainings to solve talent issue
  5. Regional events targeted at developers organized by DA staff
  6. Make d.o awesome for site builders (vs. developers) - module reviews, docs, etc.

Each of those links to an outline and discussion of these priorities.

As one of the elected community representatives on the board - please let me know if you have issues and ideas you want us to consider.

If you use Drupal, consider becoming a member of the association.

If you use Drupal and would like to help make it better, dive in and become a contributor!

If you just want to help the Drupal Association meet it's goals in 2012
please consider making a Donation.