The Drupal Association has grown rapidly over the past few years and is entering a new stage in its growth from an all-volunteer run organization to one that employs a growing number of paid staff members. Part of this transition is a move from a working (or task-oriented) board of directors to a policy-focused board. The goal of this move is to greatly enhance the transparency and accountability of the Association and provide the board the tools they need to focus on the long-term strategy of the Association.

These changes are necessary in order to lay the foundation for our next stage of growth. To keep our community informed, here's an overview of what's happened so far and where we're going from here.

The process started at the Association retreat following DrupalCon San Francisco in April 2010 (, where the full Association board and general assembly identified improving internal processes and decision-making as one of its top five priorities for the next year. The first step involved creating a new mission statement and purpose for the organization, which was presented at the Association meeting at DrupalCon Copenhagen in August, 2010 (

At DrupalCon Chicago in March, the Association board met for a full day just to discuss the question of how to improve the organization's structure to make it more effective, transparent, and responsive to the needs of the community. This meeting was facilitated by a non-profit organization consultant from Northwestern University's Center for Leadership.

Following that meeting, the Board established a governance committee composed of several board members and the executive director and charged with preparing a best practices-driven set of proposed changes based on the needs of the organization, supported by research into other non-profits, study of literature in the field, and consultation with the permanent members of the Association.

The resulting proposal was reviewed and discussed by the full general assembly, which is ultimately responsible for approving any changes to the existing statutes. The governance committee proposal was approved on June 24 by a vote of 21 in favor and 6 against, with one abstention.

Since that time, the Association has been working on codifying these changes into the bylaws and putting in place a nominating committee to elect a new board for the Association. Association staff, led by Executive Director Jacob Redding, is also hard at work preparing past minutes and other documents from the Association’s archives for release to the general public to improve the transparency of the organization and its accountability to the community-at-large.

Look forward to additional announcements in the coming days on how interested parties can put themselves forward for consideration for the Association’s board. We'll post updates here as the process goes ahead!

Written with the assistance of several Drupal Association permanent members


catch’s picture

Four in-person meetings per year and self funded travel to those meetings largely restricts board membership to:

- people in the US (assuming 3/4 meetings are held there which is likely - and the other one will be Europe - not everyone lives close to either continent).

- people who can be sponsored by their company for association business, or who own a company.

The fact that two of these might be piggy-backed onto DrupalCon doesn't really change this - for many people DrupalCon is either a significant personal financial investment, or they're reliant on sponsorship from their employer to attend.

One issue with the DA as it stands at the moment is it is not that representative, and often looks a bit incestuous in terms of where members tend to be drawn from. A lot of this is historical accident rather than by design, but when trying to make conscious, significant changes to improve on this situation, this proposal doesn't seem to deal with that at all.

This is a problem with loads of non-profits (controlled by people with money and time), but generally the only requirement for to make significant contributions to Drupal at both a code and organisational level has been time.

I don't think the DA can deal with the time issue, but funding and travel look like unnecessary barriers to me.

I don't have specific comments on the structure itself, because I don't know the first thing about non-profit regulations in any country, and I have never really got involved in the DA on any level.

jredding’s picture


There is no requirement that the travel must be self-funded. A travel fund and a scholarship fund are maintained. Of course, we would prefer that board members either self-fund themselves or have the means to raise funds for their involvement but it is *not* a requirement.