Can you believe it's been a year since Hopeful Parents started?
From the bottom of my heart, I thank all the writers who have helped create a vibrant community here: Bennie Waddell, Carrie Wilson Link, cms8741, Dawn Marie, Deborah Nickerson, Elizabeth Aquino, Ellen, Fiona Charles, Gwendomama, Heather I., Heather Schichtel, Insideout510, J., Jen M, Jenabur, Jennifer Dubowsky, L.A.c., Jennifer Gossett, Jess Wilson, Jessie M, Karen Gerstenberger, Kristen Isgro, Kyla, Kyra Anderson, Lauren Agoratus, Leah, Lisa Amos, Mama Deb, Mama Mara, MFA Mama, Michelle O'Neil, Mimi Smith, Misty Werne, Molly_G, Mrs. Darling, One Tired Mama, Rebekah Sprecher, Robert Rummel-Hudson, Scott Desgrosseilliers, Sheree Holbrook, Stephanie Ostermann, Stimey, T., Tanya Savko, The Accidental Caregiver, Therapy Doc, Torina, wrongshoes, and Anonymous.
In our first year...
- over 50,000 people have come to the site,
- viewed our pages over 113,00 times,
- commented over 1,860 times, and
- spent, on average, an amazing two minutes and fifty seconds interacting while they're here.
That means, when people come to our site, they come to stay. This tells me that we're making connections.
We also connect...
- on Facebook with over 740 fans and countless comments there,
- on Twitter with over 430 followers,
- and at our own Hopeful Parents Community with over 170 members.
Our association of parents continues to grow; this is only the beginning.
When I started Hopeful Parents, it was never my intention for this association to be "mine." The intention was to build a community -- our community.
To that end, we have a big goal for 2010! As long as there is interest within our community -- and by interest, I mean people willing to volunteer -- my plan is to incorporate Hopeful Parents in the State of Illinois as a nonprofit organization and seek federal status as a 501(c)4.
Creating a nonprofit organization allows us to supplement our blog and community with real action -- advocating for our interests, increasing awareness, and potentially creating a revenue stream not only for the website but for other parents blogging about children with special needs. It allows me to shift "ownership" of Hopeful Parents to our collective group, so that together we can make decisions and launch activities that benefit our population. One person can't do this alone.
The first order of business is putting together the Board of Directors. In addition to an Executive Committee -- President, Treasurer, Secretary -- I'm also looking for people to fill board positions to spearhead Advocacy, Marketing, Content, and Membership. If you or someone you know would consider a board position, please let me know.
After we have established Hopeful Parents as a nonprofit organization, we can start advocating our interests on a national level to our representatives. Together, we will need to spend time crafting our message. Advocacy will NOT be partisan, but seek to push forward our interests regardless of our individual party affiliations. Here, more volunteer opportunities present themselves. As our advocacy program gels, there will be a call to action on this site and our other social networking sites asking for volunteers.
Which brings me to my next point -- Action! Today we're launching a new blog at Hopeful Parents called Action! The purpose is to engage our grassroots community to help when you can. It won't be updated daily, but instead as needed. Please be sure to bookmark or add it to your RSS feeder so that you receive the updates.
And with that, I give you the floor:
What do you think of establishing Hopeful Parents as a nonprofit organization?
Are you ready to become more actively involved?
You've heard my hope for Hopeful Parents.
What I want to know is...is it yours?