USQ Update

MembershipUSQ Update

Refocusing and Restructuring USQ

USQ is planning to make significant shifts in our branding, programs, and services. We are also implementing a new structure to create new opportunities for volunteers to hold leadership positions and have more responsibilities.

Refocusing USQ

This fall, USQ has been facilitating conversations between the board of directors, employees, and volunteers on the challenges facing teams in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how that relates to the current programs and services that USQ offers. It’s clear that many teams are struggling due to the lack of opportunities to play and the general stress our country is experiencing. Some of the trends we’ve noticed were a problem before the pandemic, and have only been made worse in recent months. To adapt to these challenges and better serve members, USQ is pushing forth a few major initiatives over the next several months that will refocus our programs and services. We are also creating more volunteer opportunities with leadership responsibilities.

Initiatives for Refocusing  and Restructuring USQ; Conduct a branding review, including exploring changing the name of the sport; Reevaluate the current team structure within staff; Reimagine current programs and services for USQ members; Release adjusted mission statement; and Create additional leadership opportunities for volunteers

Branding

For the past several months, a coalition of staff from the communications department as well as the member services department have been working on a project around USQ’s branding. That includes the logo, typography, colors, and now, the name of the sport. 

Over the last 3 to 4 years, there have been discussions at all levels of quidditch about potentially changing the name of the sport. Executive Director Mary Kimball sought board support in December to facilitate a comprehensive rebranding initiative, with the goal of getting feedback from a variety of stakeholders on if USQ should change the name of the sport (and all the other Harry Potter related names we use) to something else. This initiative will make it possible for more people in the quidditch community to participate in the discussion, especially taking in the perspective of players.

In the first half of 2021, we will be seeking feedback from a variety of stakeholders on the topic. There will be a survey, as well as focus groups and other discussion opportunities facilitated by USQ staff. More information will be available in the new year. 

Team Programs and Services

The addition of more volunteer roles with leadership responsibility presents an opportunity for USQ to reevaluate the current team structure within staff, both in terms of what teams are needed as well as what they should be prioritizing. We are specifically focusing on services for members: for teams, players, leaders, referees, snitches, and fans. All USQ volunteers have been invited to review a proposal from Strategic Planning Manager Megan Anderson that details suggested changes to what teams we currently have, what teams we may add and/or shift, and what projects each team focuses on. We will be announcing these changes in the new year. 

Mission Statement

On Sunday, December 13, the board of directors approved an adjusted mission statement for USQ. It is detailed below, with the changes noted highlighted in italics.

Approved Draft: US Quidditch is the national governing body for the sport of quidditch. USQ advances the sport by organizing events and programs that build community and empower adult and youth athletes of all identities, including all races and genders, to compete together.

The changes the board approved reflect a couple of points of feedback that were brought up in recent staff focus groups as well as the BIPOC town halls from earlier this summer:

  • The omission of race in our mission statement makes it seem like racial inclusivity takes a backseat to gender inclusivity. Adding race more accurately reflects the strides that USQ is making to better serve people of all races and genders. 
  • The lack of a mention of youth in our mission statement hurts outreach and fundraising efforts for these programs. More so than nearly any other team, our youth programs have to rely on more traditional nonprofit methods of explaining our mission and programs. Having youth in the mission statement legitimizes our efforts in the eyes of potential funding partners, as well as with educators. 

Restructuring

This past summer, USQ did an organizational restructuring at the volunteer level. The biggest change was the addition of team leaders, a volunteer role between employees and coordinators that handles project management and delegation for a USQ staff team. We also launched recruitment for more volunteers, which resulted in 40 more people joining league staff. 

This project was divided into three phases. Phase 1 took place in July and August. Phase 2 took place from September through December. Phase 3 will be from January until June. At the end of July, the employees and the volunteer engagement committee made an implementation plan for phase 1 of the project, and began talking about action items for phase 2. Employees and the volunteer engagement committee continued to meet monthly to discuss current projects. In December, five focus groups with volunteers on staff were also held, led by Volunteer Engagement Committee Members Katrina Bynum, Jeremy Schleicher, and Annabel Russel. Overall, over 30 volunteers on staff participated in the feedback process. 

Our goals in evaluating phases 1 and 2 were to:

  1. Examine what has been done and not done regarding the implementation plan for this project, and create new action items to take effect immediately and further develop into the new year.
  2. Get further feedback on the volunteer experience, especially in light of the fact that our volunteer numbers have almost doubled since the spring and we now have at nearly 100 year round volunteers, compared to around 60 in May.

Here is a summary of the changes being implemented this winter:

  • We’re implementing a new structure to effectively distribute leadership and responsibility throughout more levels of the league, including adding volunteer department managers and implementing team leaders throughout the entire organization. 
  • We’ve clarified who does what at every level of the organization. The collective group of employees has been renamed to the executive team, to better reflect the priorities of paid staff. 
  • We’re incentivizing volunteering time more with rewards for reaching 60 hours volunteered.
  • We’re developing training materials and facilitating educational opportunities for volunteers around leadership and management. 
  • The executive director and department managers are going to lead more conversations on major announcements from the organization and their vision for the season, highlighting specific USQ departments and individual volunteers.

USQ’s organizational chart has been updated to reflect the structural changes being made.

How to Get Involved

We have begun recruiting for more volunteer roles, including team leaders and department managers.  For team leaders, we will continue the selection model the gameplay department teams have been using, where members of the team select who will be their leader. More information is available on the volunteer page of our website.

QUESTIONS

For questions about these changes or about how to get involved with USQ, email volunteer@usquidditch.org