Last week, more than 30 new volunteers joined GGWash's three program advisory committees: Editorial Board, Advocacy, and Elections. For a long time, writing posts was really the only way to get involved with GGWash. As we've grown, we've added more ways for readers and supporters to get involved. Learn more about our volunteer advisory committees and meet our volunteers!

Many hands make light work

When I tell people that GGWash publishes four posts per day, is influencing land use, housing, and transportation policy, and hosting regular happy hours and other events, they can't believe we have such a small staff. The trick? We have AMAZING volunteers!

Being volunteer-driven is a core value of GGWash, so we wanted to expand the opportunities for people to get involved beyond writing posts. Over the last few years we've developed advisory committees. Our committees give GGWash readers and supporters a way to plug in and help us figure out how GGWash can make Washington a greater place for more people.

Last week we onboarded 30 new volunteers into the GGWash volunteer family! They'll join existing committee members to help support the site, contribute to advocacy efforts, and shape our political endorsements over the next year.

The Editorial Board

The Editorial Board (or editboard, for short) assists with all matters related to the blog. Its purpose has evolved over the years, and now editboard helps with both high-level strategy as well as day-to-day editorial decisions.

For example, back in November the editboard identified content priorities for 2018, including topics we want contributors to write more about, geographic priorities within the Washington region, and what kinds of formats we want to focus on.

Some of the 2018 Editorial Board members at the new member orientation on January 18th.  Image by the author.

The Editorial Board also plays a critical role in publication decisions, working closely with our Lead Editor, Julie Strupp. At least one member of editboard reviews every post before it goes live on the site. As a community-driven site with volunteer writers, these "gut check reviews" help make sure that what we're publishing is factual and aligned with GGWash's mission.

And of course, they write! To see the full list of current Editorial Board members and read their bios and recent contributions, head over to this page.

The Advocacy Committee

The Advocacy Committee was established in 2016 by our Housing Organizer, David Whitehead. Inspired by the Editorial Board structure, the Advocacy Committee's purpose is to advise on advocacy strategy and also help get the work done.

Through regular phone calls and an email listserv, the Advocacy Committee assesses potential advocacy campaigns and helps determine which issues will further GGWash's mission. They also strategize tactics for effectively engaging and mobilizing readers in support of (or sometimes, in opposition against) a particular policy or planning decision. Finally, they write the blog posts and action alerts that give readers like you the opportunity to take action.

Some of the 2018 Advocacy Committee members at the new member orientation on January 18th.  Image by the author.

Here are some of the current Advocacy Committee members; not everyone is pictured here. That being said, we'd love to see more women, people of color, and other underrepresented voices on the Advocacy Committee. If you're interested, let us know: info@ggwash.org. Here's a full list of current Advocacy Committee members and their bios.

The Elections Committee

In 2015 when Greater Greater Washington incorporated as a nonprofit organization, there was consensus among GGWash leaders and readers that we should continue making political endorsements. So GGWash became a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, meaning we can engage in lobbying and political activity (as long as it's not the majority of our work).

In the past, the Editorial Board has assisted with the endorsement process. However, we really needed more people with a passion for local politics to make our endorsements process and coverage more robust. Thankfully, we had a great response to our request for volunteers and now have a large Elections Committee ready to make urbanism issues a key part of 2018 local elections.

The Elections Committee has an ambitious work plan with two main goals: inform Greater Greater Washington readers and others about the urbanist views of candidates for office in 2018, and help them make a decision to vote for candidate(s) who will best advance urbanist issues in office.

Some of the 2018 Elections Committee members at the new member orientation on January 18th.  Image by the author.

Check out the full slate of Elections Committee members here.

Do you want to volunteer?

If you have skills or talents you'd like to lend to GGWash, let us know! In particular we're looking for people with graphic design expertise and a penchant for creating visualizations or maps to accompany our posts since we're still mourning the loss of Peter Dovak, urbanist graphic designer extraordinaire.

With the help of the Editorial Board, Advocacy, and Elections Committees, and other volunteers we look forward to delivering more of the content you can't get anywhere else, influencing important policy decisions across the region, and making urbanism issues a critical part of local elections in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Sarah Guidi is Greater Greater Washington's Managing Director. A social worker by training, Sarah brings knowledge of nonprofit management, policy and advocacy, and community engagement to Greater Greater Washington. When she's not working, she enjoys visiting new parts of the city by bike, doing gymnastics, and reading novels. Sarah lives in the Petworth neighborhood of DC.