There are 1 million people in the global Drupal Community and there just 25 people in Drupal Association who manage the whole growth and development of it.
Those people are doing the work of superheroes who bring the power to open source technology in general and to Drupal CMS in particular. The Drupal Association is an educational non-profit organization that tasks itself with fostering and supporting the Drupal software project, the community, and its growth. So it is obvious that might make them seem unreachable. But we were not scared to ask! And it turned out that members of Drupal Association are extremely open and ready to listen to one's ideas and help when you struggle. After the communication with Lizz about Global Training Day last year, we found out how great and friendly Drupal Association is. So we decided to break imaginary borders and tell everyone about it!
And the best way to do so is to ask for answers. And our organizational development manager Marina created a list of questions about the life and work of Drupal Association and directed them to people who communicate with the Drupal Community the most: Leigh Carver, Content writer, and Lizz Trudeau, Membership/Camps Outreach responsible.
Q: The Drupal Association is an international organization aimed to develop and maintain Drupal worldwide so firstly would you please say a couple of words about DA's work: what is the organizational structure, do you have a mission and team motto, concrete numerical goals to achieve?
A: The Drupal Association is an organization with two aspects. There are twenty-five of us who are employed by the Association, and most of us live in Portland though we do also have people in Arizona, Texas, Michigan, New York, and the UK. We’re structured into teams that report to our COO and Executive Director. Megan Sanicki (Executive Director) is the one who speaks for the Drupal Association at events like DrupalCons, and they do a great job working with the community.
Our mission is available for anyone to view on assoc.drupal.org/about, and our five guiding points are communication, respect, action, teamwork, and fun. We definitely have concrete numerical goals, such as the amount of revenue we need to generate to continue in our mission of supporting Drupal.org, or how many DrupalCon attendees we need to purchase tickets in order to ensure that the event reaches all its funding goals. But there are other things we do, like making improvements to Drupal.org or building programs for the community, that are harder to measure. That can make the work really fun and exciting sometimes: we like trying completely new things and figuring out how they made life better for the people in our community.
Q: Drupal Association is a big organization responsible for many different areas and since Drupal is an open-source platform, it is quite cruсial to develop and grow the community. So the next question is what processes does Drupal Association maintain and what place goes for community building?
A: All of us at the Association touch community building in some form or other. The DrupalCon team works closely with the community to plan and run each Con, and we’ve seen that Cons are really important to community growth. After DrupalCon Asia, there has been a huge surge in engagement from that part of the world. And, of course, DrupalCon is where lots of networking and knowledge sharing happens. So that’s one thing we’re constantly thinking about — how to make DrupalCon better for the community.
We also have a great engineering team who works tirelessly on improving Drupal.org. The work they’re doing is according to a roadmap that was set out when we did user research a bit over a year ago. The content redesign work should make Drupal.org a better home for everyone in the Drupal community and will make it easier for visitors who are new to Drupal.org to find their way around and get started with Drupal. So they’re really having a twofold effect: they’re improving Drupal.org for the community, and they’re growing the community (and Drupal adoption) by doing it.
On the marketing and membership team, we really work hard to be community advocates and to support the community. Lizz facilitates Global Training Days, runs the membership program, and helps out when camp organizers ask questions. For community members who aren’t involved in DrupalCon, Lizz is usually the first point of contact, and she strives to be a friendly face who’s here to help. Leigh, on the other hand, uses the Drupal Association’s marketing channels to spread the word about some of the great things that community members have done. She writes blogs about Drupal-powered world-changing initiatives like UrbanTXT, puts together community spotlights on our amazing contributors, and helps the community showcase what they’re proudest of in the case study featured section.
As our manager, Bradley also does a lot of thinking on how we can be of most value to the community. He wants to make sure that, when we do send out marketing messages, they’re useful and thoughtfully constructed. And he’s also working hard on helping the engineering team with the drupal.org content redesign.
Q: The most powerful way to unite the community is phYsical meetings like Drupal conferences (DrupalCons for instance). What other ways do you use to keep in touch with local Drupal communities?
A: We’ve got a quarterly Community Organizers newsletter that we send out to various community leaders. Lizz also corresponds with organizers very frequently over email and IRC. And, of course, where would we be without Twitter?
Q: What initiatives and methods do you use to engage more web-developers with Drupal and keep them in the community?
A: This comes back to the content redesign that the engineering team is working on. We’re a small team at the Drupal Association, and we can’t do everything. So we’re focused on providing the tools that the community needs to keep itself healthy and growing — in this case, making Drupal.org a better experience for new visitors, making it easier to download Drupal and start using it with our Try Drupal initiative, making it simple to find the services and integrations you need through our hosting and technology supporters… there are also initiatives like Global Training Days, which provide an introduction to Drupal, and community cultivation grants, which help people increase the number of people working with Drupal in their local communities by providing funds to kickstart local initiatives.
Q: The answer to the following question will be very interesting for those who are not a drupaller yet :) Why is it cool to be in the Drupal Community or even in Drupal Association?
A: The Drupal community really is like a giant family. It’s a huge, supportive, loving network. Of course, people have their differences and disagreements, but like with families, these things always come from a place of love. It’s amazing to see how passionate the Drupal community is, and being able to support them in pursuit of what they do is definitely the coolest part of being in the Drupal Association.
Q: How to join the Drupal Association or get Involved in the local community?
A: There are numerous opportunities to get involved. You can become a Drupal Association member, which means that you pledge a small amount so that we can continue doing our work of serving the community, and in return, you receive benefits and discounts from our partners. You can get involved locally by attending a meet-up or by volunteering to help out with a nearby camp. We also always need on-site volunteers at every DrupalCon to assist us with set-up and tear-down. If you see a program you want to replicate in your own community, we recommend reaching out to whoever started it, and if you are a community organizer or want to learn more about energizing your local community, we recommend you subscribe to our quarterly Community Organizers Newsletter, which has great information from all sorts of experts.
Q: And in the end, we all would like to ask what do you love in your work the most are what are your responsibilities in general?
A: For this question, each of us decided to write our own answers.
Leigh: As a Content Writer, I work on DrupalCon communication (so blogs, emails, and social media), Drupal Association communication, I help out on Drupal.org in the case studies queue and with community spotlights, and I lend a hand wherever I’m needed. My favorite part of my job is when I get the opportunity to sit down and talk to community members about what they love and why they love it — and then help them make an impact. For me, there’s nothing more fulfilling than helping people do what they’re most passionate about.
Lizz: As far as my responsibilities go, I work with a few different programs. I communicate with community members, manage the membership program, coordinate Drupal Global Training days (and work with trainers and hosts to make it happen), act as a liaison for DrupalCon media partners, and a few other things as well! I also field lots of questions from community organizers, think a lot about ways to help local communities, and assist Leigh and Bradley with other marketing tasks because everyone needs a proofreader! I like to keep busy :) I am always thrilled when given the chance to make someone's day better. I receive questions of all kinds and if I'm able to connect a Drupal community organizer with resources that help them succeed, or even help them feel like their day just got brighter, then I know I too am having a great day.
So that was the interview with Lizz and Leigh - two amazing and open members of Drupal Association. And the questions are quite detailed that we have nothing more to comment. The only thing we would like to add to this interview is that we always get inspired by the communication with Drupal Association members and it is obvious that they are doing their best to serve the community.
That’s why if you still not actively participating in your local Drupal Community life, you should definitely start. Because working for open source is always paying you back with knowledge, solutions and soulful conversations.
The new term of Drupal Association has just begun. Holly Ross left her position and Megan Sanicki step in to be a new Executive Director. Such a big change always lead to more other changes. We'll share your main points from Megan's blog post about reorganizing Drupal Association.
First, the number of people in the Association is reduced from 25 to 17 in order to better address the Drupal Project's needs.
Second, the main directions of Drupal Association activities are also slightly changed to promoting Drupal 8 for adoption growth and sustaining Drupal.org for the community to continue building and releasing software.
And lastly, Drupal Association will expand our efforts to attract more evaluators to DrupalCon.
Now the first priority is to go through the transition in order to focus on Project's needs faster and align all activities according to them.
But there is one thing that won’t change: it's Drupal Association's commitment to the tools community use to build Drupal every day. From our side, we wish members of the Association to achieve their new vision, keep the right direction and achieve the goals no matter what.
Source of all pictures: Association.drupal.org