Spotlight on Development & Membership

Having completed our most successful drive in OTW history, we’d like to spotlight the work of our Development & Membership Committee (“DevMem”). Among its many accomplishments in 2012, DevMem held two successful membership drives in April and October. The success of these drives, coupled with recurring donations, brought the total raised in 2012 to $90,600. Without the dedication and talent of the DevMem committee members, 2012 would not have been a record-setting year in fundraising. We were able to do a Q+A with two members of DevMem, Aja and Lesann, in the weeks before this drive despite their busy schedules!

Sum up Development and Membership in 6 words.

Aja: Positively representing OTW to fandom (&) beyond!

Lesann: The organization’s financial and outreach backbone.

How did you decide that you wanted to be a part of DevMem?

Aja: I actually applied to be a part of Internationalization & Outreach but VolCom felt I’d be a better fit for DevMem, so it wasn’t until I was actually attending meetings and watching what the group did–marketing, fundraising, and a lot of outreach of our own–that I realized I wanted to be right where I was.

Lesann: It was recommended to me by Allison Morris as somewhere I would fit in, during her tenure as VolCom chair. We talked over what the committee did and it sounded new and different and like something I wanted to try.

Why is DevMem an important part of OTW?

Aja: DevMem handles the logistics of fundraising, primarily, but it also puts a positive face on the OTW and fandom in general. We connect people who’re going to conventions with each other, and provide researchers with ways to talk about fandom.

Lesann: Because it keeps funds coming in to run the servers and keep the projects financially viable, and because it is part of a group of committees that represents OTW to both fans/the target audience, and the larger world.

Since joining DevMem, what has been your favorite project thus far?

Aja: Participating in an American Library Association panel about fandom with my fellow DevMem member Lesann! 🙂

Lesann: Hah! I had to change this answer since Aja got mine first. That was such a great experience with positive feedback from all corners, in a different way than the average fandom response to OTW.

I actually really enjoy the drives. It’s when our best brainstorming happens, and there are very concrete goals, which I love. Additionally, there’s a lot more interaction with members/donors that week, a lot more feedback, and even when the feedback is that we need to be doing something better, it’s appreciated.

What are some goals that you have for DevMem in 2013?

Aja: Convention outreach especially is something I’d love us to get better at. It’s my hope we can develop more ready resources (update our flyers/brochures) and information for fans, and get even better at connecting members of the OTW to each other so they can more successfully rep for the OTW wherever they go.

Lesann: Personally? I would super like to get some varied merchandise out for regular purchase, as opposed to only having premium gifts.

Think of your favorite fandom character of all time. Would that character be a good fit for the DevMem committee?

Aja: Eames from Inception is very dear to my heart!! He’s a trickster and a con man; he becomes whatever people want him to be, and he can make them believe what he wants them to hear. In that sense, he’d probably be the ideal DevMem member–he’d be able to convince anyone that OTW is right for them, and that it’d be doing them a favor to take all their money in support! But then he’d likely skedaddle and leave the rest of us holding the bag for fulfilling the expectations of funders. So in the long run, it’d be better to have someone committed to teaching people about what the OTW is and already does, rather than letting them see the OTW as a catch-all solution for all their fandom problems. To that end, Eames’ partner-in-crime-and-in-love, Arthur, would probably be the steady choice for an OTW member: loyal, logistical, practical, but ready to get creative at a moment’s notice!

Lesann: Hermione Granger, and I suppose that kind of depends on whether I believe Hermione’s people skills improve as an adult. Her foray into helping the house elves was pretty much a disaster because of an inability to rhetorically connect with others, so, probably not? But on the other hand, she’d be enthusiastic as hell. So there’s that!