I’m excited to be running for a board position in the OpenStreetMap US organization.
This has been a busy year for the board! Most of my work on the 2015/2016 board has been behind the scenes, making it easier for future boards to do their work. After a lot of hard work we were recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, allowing us to more easily accept donations from organizations and funds that require such a status. We also spent a lot of time updating and modernizing our financials and now have regular support from a bookkeeper, allowing the board to focus more of their time on moving the organization forward. Additionally, I rewrote the membership processing system so that we could send reminder emails when automatic membership renewals failed.
We ran a very successful State of the Map US 2016 event in Seattle. With the help of a really strong volunteer community in Seattle, we brought over 400 OpenStreetMappers together to share their experiences.
When I ran last year, I had lots of great ideas for how we could improve the OpenStreetMap community in the US. I still think these are great ideas, but some of them require a bit more work on our end before they’ll become a reality. A side-effect of building a board out of very active members of our community is that those board members don’t have time outside of performing board activities to plan events or send newsletters. We should encourage those outside the board to participate and lead the effort to make these things happen rather than trying to do them ourselves. This strategy works fairly well for the State of the Map US event, and I’d like to see it applied to other things like scholarships, event sponsorships, and newsletters.
Another important piece that I think would help the organization is to hire someone to help coordinate these volunteer efforts. For example, a large part of my time on the board was spent handling payments, scholarships, donations, sponsorships, and memberships. Others on the board spent a lot of time drawing up, proofreading, and publishing communications. Hiring someone to help with these important aspect of running the organization would give the board more time to work with volunteers and would also lead to a better sense of continuity between the different boards.
I look forward to helping build the OpenStreetMap community in the United States. Please become a member and vote to make sure your voice is heard.