A few years ago, we had a dream. OrgOrg membership was growing quickly, and we knew that we would soon outgrow the one-size-fits-all Google Group. We wanted members to be able to log in, view each other's profiles and find each other easily. We wanted a searchable vendor directory and a jobs board. And most of all, we wanted customizable email list subscriptions. This group covers topics from Office Operations to Human Resources to Event Planning to Software and Tools and more, and as our membership grew more and more diverse, it was only natural that not everyone would be interested in every topic (or every location - hello, global membership)! Giving members the ability to easily select (and change) which email groups to join was, and is really, really important to us.
Trouble is that while we might be BizOps ballers, we're not developers. So we talked and we thought and we explored out of the box solutions, but nothing was quite right. Flash forward to summer 2013. We started getting more serious. We started talking fundraising. Not quite ready to get Venture Capital Serious, we thought we should hold a fundraiser, to see if this community could rally together and raise enough money to pay a developer to build us our dream tool. We gathered a group of dedicated volunteers to hone in on what we wanted out of this year, and broke into groups to improve our processes and content in the areas of Membership, Resources, Sponsorships, Website, and Events. And we started talking about what a real, official fundraiser would look like.
Cut to July 31, 2014. A hundred OrgOrg'ers and their friends are partying it up in the SF Chronicle building, enjoying snacks and drinks and massages and getting silly in a photo booth. Bidding on silent auction prizes and learning about some really sweet, supportive, super-fun vendors. And high-fiving each other, many meeting in person for the first time. It was a rad party. All told, we raised almost $13,000. For an organization that has been run by volunteers, for 3+ years, while we held down day jobs, this is a Big Fucking Deal. We've been relying on the kindness of strangers (and friends) to put on our meetups and learning & development events and redesign our public website, and will likely be doing the same for a while. But now we have a little safety net.
So what's next? We are currently collecting proposals from developers (both friends and boutique firms) to pick a direction. Hopefully the money we've raised will be enough to get us started, but we won't know until we start talking seriously to people. Stay tuned - this shit is getting real!
So thank you (thankyouthankyouthankyou) to everyone who came out, volunteered, donated, or supported from afar. Knowing you have our backs makes it easy to believe in ourselves. This community is so important to us, and we want to do everything we can to make it better. But we can't do it alone, and you've showed us that we don't have to.
I would be remiss in not calling attention to and thanking our stellar event volunteers - they stuffed your swag bags, showed you how to get in the building, ran the silent auction and helped vendors set up their tables (and more). Our volunteers were led by the incomparable Dalyte Kodzis, Megan Lamberti, and Rosa Lee - these fierce women have day jobs running bizops at their startups, but they worked crazy hard in their free time to make this event happen. We could not have done it without them. And I mean that.
And hey, can a girl get a big ole "HELL YEAH" for our sponsors? They donated everything you experienced, and are wonderful supporters of our community. Show them some love!
Want to join OrgOrg? Click on that page that says "Join" up top and fill out the form. Our membership team will take care of you!
And check out some photos from the event (ooh slideshow)! (all photos available here)