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  • Don Milne

Please join Mission Control for our Moon shot

Updated: Jun 8


To borrow a comparison to the space program, the Utah pilot (Stories Behind the Stars 1.0) was like the Mercury program that put a man in space. The D-Day project (Stories Behind the Stars 2.0) was like the Gemini program that proved we could function in space for days at a time. The Pearl Harbor and Arlington National Cemetery projects (Stories Behind the Stars 3.0) are our Apollo project.

It’s time to go to the Moon.


For that to succeed, I need help with Mission Control.


If this was a long established nonprofit, we would have the regular resources to hire people to help with the many tasks needed. That is my plan at some point, but we are not there yet.


I have been working on this project for 60-80 hours a week. I am not complaining, because I very much enjoy this project, but the project continues to grow and there are others who can do a better job with many tasks. With a background as a bank product manager who designed and managed billion dollar products and coordinating hundreds of people teaching financial literacy classes, I am well suited to making Stories Behind the Stars another product to create and manage. I need to do a better job at delegating and letting the energy and talents of many of our volunteers make this project even better.


If you can help with any of our Mission Control stations listed below, please email me at don@storiesbehindthestars.org.


We could really use some volunteer help in the following areas:


Pearl Harbor Mission Support - Need director and crew

For the recently completed D-Day project, we had two amazing women who directed that mission. They assigned out names to volunteers and maintained the database as each story was reported in.

  • I need a couple of volunteers to help with the same thing for the Pearl Harbor Mission. Time commitment each day varies, but should be 1-2 hours, though a director may want to dive in deeper.

  • Project will run until all stories are completed - target is December 7, 2021.

  • SBTS has a master list of the 2,335 Pearl Harbor fallen, but it is missing a lot of basic information such as state and date of birth. We need about a half dozen or so support crew to find the missing information and add it to the spreadsheet.


Arlington National Cemetery Mission Support - Need director and crew

  • I need a couple of volunteers to direct the Arlington National Cemetery Mission. Time commitment each day varies, but should be 1-2 hours a day, though a director may want to dive in deeper.

  • Project will run until all stories are completed - target is Memorial Day 2022.

Much to my surprise, ANC does not have a list of WWII fallen buried there. Luckily FindAGrave.com and BillionGraves.com provided me with their ANC databases. There are probably 6,000+ names, but the databases need to be merged and missing data added.

  • We need about a half dozen or so support crew to find the missing information and add it to the spreadsheet.


Astronaut (writer) orientation

Each new volunteer needs to be added our customer database and sent a welcome email. I am looking for someone to be the host who first interacts with our volunteers and answers early questions. Some days it may take five minutes. Some days it could take an hour or so. Right now there is a backlog due to the high interest from Memorial Day and D-Day. More details here.


Fuel Management ($$$)

With no prior experience in the nonprofit world, I am starting with very limited financial resources. For 2021 we have been able to get by with a generous $20,000 donation from MyHeritage that has covered larger expenses, and a lot of small dollar donations that can help with smaller expenses. To be viable year to year, we need to cover an operating budget of around $300,000 per year (details available upon request). Any assistance in this space is highly appreciated, whether it is grant writing, fundraising expertise, or networking with donors who would support a project like this.


Flight Guidance (Story Reviewing)

After our writers have gone through boot camp, we need volunteers to review their first stories to check for appropriate content and to provide best practices feedback. We try to limit this review work to one or two per week. We already have a half dozen reviewers, but with more people joining the project, I would like to have more reviewers. See here to read about their experience.


For those who are really passionate about making sure our stories are the best they can be, we will be able to grant them editor rights to make direct changes to stories. That position would be a best match for those who have a lot of free time.


Operations and Procedures (Online training material)

SBTS Boot Camp instructions and YouTube videos can be improved. If you have a talent in this area, please let us benefit from that so our volunteers have the best learning experience.


Mechanical (smartphone apps, website, videos, VPN)

There are lots of tasks we need done that are currently being done by with less skill than some of you. If you are good at web design, graphic design, VPNs, videography, etc., let us know if you can make something we do better. We are especially interested in people who have skills writing smartphone apps because this is such a key part of the project.


Life Support (answering writer questions)

New users often have a quick question that experienced users can quickly answer. It would be nice to have a couple of people on call to answer questions as they come up. This would be through email, though phone calls would be a consideration if that would work for you.


Public Affairs (promoting SBTS in legacy and social media)

There are thousands of people who would like to help out on this project that have just not heard about it yet. If you have skills with traditional media or new media and would like to help us use these tools to attract more volunteers, let me know.


If you are excited to join Mission Control at one or more of these stations, let me know.

don@storiesbehindthestars.org


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