One of the most impressive things about the Drupal community is just how diverse it is. Wherever you go in the globe, you’re likely to find a group of folks at a coffee shop proudly sporting one of their many Drupal T-shirts. It’s the job of the Drupal Association to support this diverse community - no matter what you do with Drupal, or where you are in the world when you do it.

We recognize that the intention and the practice have been far apart at times here at the Association. In other words, we’ve wanted to provide more support for and representation of our global community than we’ve actually been able to accomplish. We’ve heard your requests for more inclusion and have taken a few steps forward in the last couple of years:

  • Community Cultivation Grants: Designed to foster new Drupal projects around the world, we budget $40,000 for these initiatives annually.
  • Global Training Days: We help coordinate new training opportunities on every continent (except Antarctica!) three times a year.
  • Community Summit at DrupalCon: Our first global community summit takes place at Prague and has session specifically addressing the Association’s relationship outside the US. I’ll be there all day on Monday, listening and learning.

These steps are progress, but don’t go far enough to support the community outside of the US, so starting in 2014, we’ll be addressing one main barrier to working more globally: a base of European operations.

A European Branch

Another key challenge for the Association has been conducting business in Europe. Many of you know that VZW was the precursor to the Drupal Association. Since the formation of the Association, we have continued to work with VZW for fiscal sponsorship, allowing us to process payments for European Cons in Euros, not dollars, for example. While this has worked to date, it also limits what we can do - like accepting credit card payments on site. This is the reason, for example, that we can’t have a Drupal Store in Prague.

By opening our own branch in Europe, we will be able to open bank and merchant accounts in our name. This will allow us greater flexibility in providing Con-related services to the community, like the store. More importantly, it will allow us to provide new services to the community as well, including our camp Fiscal Sponsorship program, which serves nearly 20 camps in the United States today.

Our plan is to work through an agency that will collaborate with us on the necessary filings and provide a local address for our operations. This is a normal route that many organizations take as they ramp up in another country. By working with an agency and opening a branch, rather than a new entity, we get all benefits of operating overseas, with the flexibility to change course if we need to.

We’ve chosen London for this first roll-out because business laws make it easy for us to establish a branch of our US entity and because culture and language make this an easy first step into foreign operations for the Association. In the short-term, we will not be opening a physical office or adding staff on the ground, but we hope that we will be able to do so in the longer-term.

What Does this Mean for European Drupal Communities...

Rest-assured, we’re not making this move so we can try to co-opt any of the work you are doing. Our primary intent is to add value wherever we can, making it easier for Camp and training organizers to do their work. With the new branch, we will be able to provide fiscal sponsorships for events in Great Britain, for example.

...And the Rest of the World?

We also want to acknowledge that there’s a lot more turf on the planet than the US and Great Britain. Though the branch will only allow us to open fiscal sponsorship and other services up to a limited geography, we hope the lessons we learn in the process will allow us to roll out into other areas as needed.


We know this is a big move, with lots of opportunity for success, as well as problems. We also know that our success is predicated on creating and continuing an open dialog with you. So please let us know what questions and ideas you have for us. Thank you!

Flickr photo: ToastyKen