The mission of Nation of Makers is to support the full range of organizations that impact makers by encouraging connections, broadly sharing resources, facilitating funding opportunities, engaging in policy development, and advocating for the maker movement.
To work towards this mission, I envision the first year of work of Nation of Makers falling into four main areas: 1. Infrastructure, 2. Community, 3. Resource Sharing, and 4. Engagement/Advocacy. It is my goal, as Executive Director of Nation of Makers to address these four areas in the following way:
The strength in any organization starts with a firm foundation. As a new, burgeoning organization, much of the basic infrastructure must be decided upon in the first year, and in the first few months of the year. These infrastructure items include: 501c3 filing, website build out, creating a sustainable and inclusive membership structure, developing a budget and financial sustainability plan, and fundraising for long range stability of the organization and its membership.
When building a community, it’s important to take the pulse of the moment we currently occupy; to stop for a moment and assess the current status of the community. To do so, I plan to conduct a gap analysis/needs assessment of our community and its needs within the first year, so as to be of the best service and support. To further receive important input, it will additionally be crucial to create structures where the community is not only heard, but also engaged in building and strengthening the organization, and where communication and collaboration are the norm. To this end, I look forward to implementing the following structures in the first year:
Additionally, as the community and the organizational structure gets built out, it will be important to come together throughout the first year in collaboration to foster community in person and virtually. To this end, Nation of Makers will have two main focused annual events: The National Week of Making (June 16-22, 2017), and the Nation of Makers Annual Convening (date to be determined).
One of the great joys of growing the Nation of Makers it that the foundation of this meta-org is strengthened by all of the amazing member organizations, and all of the great work that they are doing, “boots on the ground”, in the maker community. To this end, one of the organization’s main Year 1 goals is to build out the virtual infrastructure to allow for a robust resource library and sharing platform. In particular, we are working to create a federated database, where all data and information resides on the originating maker organization’s website/server (so as to drive interested parties directly to our membership’s organizations). Additionally, we are hoping to design a user-friendly interface for the database that connects makers (and future makers) directly to our member organizations, similar to the interface on the CSforAll website. We are also looking forward to having multiple tools for our membership as we build out our web interface in Year 1 and beyond, including individual member organization profiles, and web-based communication capabilities that will allow our membership to better communicate with one another and to develop long lasting partnerships that extend farther than any one organization could reach.
Although the first year is full with a number of activities that are crucial to building infrastructure, building community, and getting the organization on its feet, it is important that we continue to push forward with making sure we are engaged with the policy community to facilitate the strengthening of an overall national infrastructure that will support and sustain our community, from ensuring funding opportunities to creating opportunities for partnerships with government on both the local and federal level. In the first year, it will be key to partner with existing government entities that have continued and sustained engagement with the maker community. To this end, we look forward to engagement and partnership with the Congressional Maker Caucus, and the Interagency Working Group on Making.