2013 has been a very exciting year in the development of BeWelcome. We have grown in numbers, doubling to 50,000 members, and we have seen a wonderful increase in real-life encounters, hospitality and cultural exchanges.
Development will continue in 2014, making BeWelcome an even more attractive global non-profit hospitality network. As a network that is run exclusively by volunteers, we invite each and every one of you to join us and create the future together: Complete and update your profileand check your e-mail or BeWelcome inbox regularly, share your suggestions on how to improve BeWelcome, get in touch and meet up with members in your vicinity, or help the whole community by volunteering for BeWelcome.
What's new on the website?
- A new member search has been introduced which makes it much easier to find available hosts. Just click on "Find members" in the main menu, enter a location and start your search.
- Voting on future improvements of the website: BeWelcome allows all members to participate in the decision making about the future development of the website and has recently released a new tool to support this process. You want to voice your opinion too? Just click on "Community" > "Suggestions" and join the discussions or cast your vote!
- Safety first: BeWelcome is about giving and enjoying hospitality all over the world. This only works if we can trust each other and work together on keeping the network safe for everyone. This is why we have published safety pages and put a link to these pages into the main menu. The primary means to keep members safe is to write honest and factual profile comments about the members you meet and interact with. To help our members write informative profile comments, we have recently published profile comment guidelines.
Get support for your BeWelcome events!
BeWelcome recently collected donations to support BeWelcome activities and events. If you are planning an activity for BeWelcome members and need some financial support to make if happen, you can apply for funding. Please read our Be Active guidelines and send your proposal to the Board of Directors (BoD). The deadline for submissions is 1st December 2013.
Volunteers at work
BeWelcome volunteers are busy throughout the year, developing and testing the software, designing, writing and translating the website, answering questions, moderating the forum, taking care of the safety of our members and much more. Most of the time we are collaborating online but once in a while real-life meetings take place:
- BeWelcome Unconference in Florence: Offering a great opportunity for brainstorming and meeting other members, an unconference is both work and fun. From 4th to 6th October 2013, the third BeWelcome Unconference took place in Florence (Italy), kindly organized by tuscanhobbit. The meeting minutes are available in the BeWelcome wiki. Would you like to organize a BeWelcome Unconference too? Contact us!
- General Assembly 2013: Once a year it's time to rack our brains over all the legal and administrative stuff a registered non-profit association has to take care of. From reviewing the work of our volunteer teams, to finances, budgets and electing a new Board of Directors, the "General Assembly" of BeVolunteer (the organization that runs BeWelcome) took place from 2nd to 3rd November in Fürth (Germany) and was kindly hosted by sitatara and shevek. Everything you'd like to know about BeVolunteer and the General Assembly is available on the BeVolunteer website.
Join our volunteers!
BeWelcome is run by volunteers only. You like that concept? Then join us and strengthen our volunteer teams:
- Development and design: We are currently working on "Welen" (Welcome Engine) which will be a complete rewrite of the software that bewelcome.org runs on. Based on the Symfony framework and freely licensed under the GPL, the new engine will allow for significant improvements in functionality and usability. Read more about our vision, visit the project's website, and join us at the BeWelcome hackathon in Portugal: Lasting between one and two months, starting in December 2013, this will be an exciting opportunity for everyone with programming knowledge, willing to volunteer their time, knowledge and skills. If you are interested, send a message to mikael, and read more on the BeWelcome Activities page. You can also join the Development Team by simply writing a message to the developers' mailing list and introducing yourself there.
- Suggestions Team: Support democratic decision making and join the newly created Suggestions Team. Help members find their way to make suggestions for the improvement of BeWelcome and put the finalized suggestions up for a vote. Read more about the team and how to join on the team's wiki page.
- Other volunteering opportunities: Nearly all of our volunteer teams are currently searching for additional members. Help us with testing new software, translating the website, answering member questions, organizing local BeWelcome events, or writing newsletters like this one. For an overview of all volunteering opportunities, tasks, requirements and how to join the teams, please visit our Get Active page.
The new Board of Directors
During the annual General Assembly of BeVolunteer a new Board of Directors was elected. The new members are: chmac, claudiaab, guaka,pablobd, planetcruiser, sitatara and wind. Find out more about the board and its tasks on the Board of Directors wiki page.
Get active and update your profile
- Complete and update your profile: Would you like to meet other BeWelcome members? If so, you should provide them with a first impression by adding a profile picture and fleshing out your profile.
- Invite friends to BeWelcome
- Join or start a BeWelcome group: If no group for your region or interests exists on BeWelcome, you can create it yourself and invite others to join.
- Spread the word: If you want to promote BeWelcome among your contacts and also get updates about the website, you can follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The BeWelcome Volunteers