Why are we learning and speaking Esperanto? Why does Esperanto-USA exist? Why do Esperanto clubs exist? Why does UEA exist? Why do we meet? What are we about?
These are not rhetorical questions. The answers are crucial to the Esperanto movement of which you are a part.
Every meeting of the Board of Directors of Esperanto-USA begins with the review of this mission statement:
Esperanto-USA is a non-profit organization that encourages and strengthens the Esperanto community in the United States and its territories by facilitating support and communication for local groups and providing a centralized set of resources for our members.
Furthermore, the preamble to our bylaws also provides a view into our purpose:
The Esperanto League for North America1, Inc. is constituted as a not-for-profit educational organization, whose primary purpose is to further education in, and dissemination of information about, the international auxiliary language Esperanto within the United States of America.
The League is part of the worldwide movement to spread the use of the international auxiliary language Esperanto, thereby advancing friendly relations among all the peoples of the world.
The League shall work freely with all persons, groups, and organizations having the same objectives, and may officially ally itself with other neutral organizations having the same objectives.
The League is and shall forever remain neutral concerning questions of religion, politics, and socio-economic theory.
Toward that end, your Board of Directors, your Publicity Team and your Membership Team are active on several fronts, which you already know about if you have been tuning in. By the time this article is published, the American Good Film Festival is nearing its end, and more events are on the drawing board including the important virtual Landa Kongreso June 12–19, 2021. Mark your calendar! You will be getting updates via email and here in Usona Esperantisto. If you are active in a local Esperanto club in your area, you will also get announcements there. Your regional coordinator is a resource your club can use in communicating this information to your local members.
Drucker’s five questions
Peter F. Drucker, who is undeniably the expert in the management of non-profit organizations, firmly states that the mission comes first. Here are Drucker’s five most important questions you will ever ask about an organization:
- What is our business (Mission)?
- Who is our customer?
- What does the customer consider value?
- What have been our results?
- What is our plan?
Stop right there. Without this pause you might just continue reading without taking action. Just stop where you are and reread these five questions. Write them down. Put them on a sticky note. Email them. Discuss them with other Esperanto speakers and learners. Ponder them in a brainstorming session in your next club meeting. Put it on your to-do list.
Your Board of Directors
Your Board of Directors for Esperanto-USA frequently wrestles with these top questions to stay focused on what is important to our members and mission. We work with our committees and with the regional coordinators to answer these challenges and fulfill your mission.
The Mission of Zamenhof
You already know how much Zamenhof wanted people to communicate effectively with each other, especially despite differences in nationality, race, tradition, culture, politic, or belief. This was his driving goal, that Esperanto would be a tool to bring the people together with understanding and mutual respect. His will was strong, his vision was clear, and his courage was great. He was a man of mission.
The mission of the local Esperanto club
It is important that your local Esperanto club knows why it exists and what it is doing. What can you do in your club? What can your club do?
- Open a discussion about why you exist.
- Why did you become interested in Esperanto?
- What do you hope to achieve by being a part of the Esperanto community?
- What are the visions of the members of the club?
Pause again, please. Has your local Esperanto club pondered these foundational issues? What do your participants think about the direction your club should take? Why are you active, or what would make you more active? Make a note to bring these questions to your club. Is your club willing to take some time to discuss these questions? Let your regional coordinator know what your club is doing.
To a large degree, the success of Esperanto-USA is seen in the activity level of the local groups. Certainly, there are events of larger scope such as our annual congress (“Landa Kongreso”), NASK, and regional gatherings, but more than anything else, the heart of the movement is in the actions of the local group. This is where the word spreads. This is the main place where friends gather to practice the language face-to-face and learn about club members making contact with Esperanto speakers in other countries. And remember that your regional coordinator is there to help you.
Each Esperanto club should know why it exists and what the plans are.
Answers, but no local club?
If there is not an Esperanto club near where you live, start one. Ask your regional coordinator for help. Ask him or her for the Handbook for Local Groups which includes a Quick Start Checklist. There are so many tools available to communicate your announcements and publicize your online meetings such as Facebook, Duolingo forums, Discord, Zoom, Meetup.com, Amikumu, Skype, Google Meet, email, phone, and Reddit.
Tell us what you need! Share your vision with your regional coordinator.
Here are some authors that have helped me work on these questions. What resources have helped you in organizing your local club? When were you last in touch with your regional coordinator?
Peter F. Drucker: Managing the Non-Profit Organization, The Essential Drucker, and The Five Most Important Questions you will ever ask about your Nonprofit Organization.
Steven Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and First Things First.
Tom Peters: In Search of Excellence, Thriving on Chaos, and A Passion for Excellence.
Seth Godin: Unleashing the Ideavirus, and The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook.
Rick Falkvinge: Swarmwise: The Tactical Manual to Changing the World.
Additional references and answers:
See you at the LK! Ni vidos vin ĉe la LK de Esperanto-USA! June 12-19, 2021.
ELNA, The Esperanto League for North America, has now for several years been doing business as “Esperanto-USA.” ↩