While online interactions are the day-to-day experience of many technology communities, often our most memorable shared experiences and group learning happen in person. We come together at conferences, in user group meetings, and at hackathons to teach each other, to explore new ideas, connect with our community, and build a shared vision. For many of us, event planning is something we learn to do because we care about these community activities, not because it’s our main expertise. Through trial and error and reflection, our team has built a body of knowledge we’re excited to share with you.
Community Event Planning is a guidebook for both new and experienced organizers. Whether this is a significant part of your job or something you do in your own time, we’ll guide you through the process of creating a welcoming and energizing event for your community. When we started we found very few resources of this type, and since then our shared communities’ experience and practices have grown so much. We’ll incorporate all of that communal knowledge into this work with your support.
How this started
In 2013, Audrey Eschright and Christie Koehler, along with fellow technologist Sherri Koehler, put together a workbook for a conference workshop we called Event Planning for Geeks. We relied on our years of experience planning events like BarCamp Portland, Ignite Portland, open source code sprints, and Open Source Bridge, a conference now going into its 10th year. We then turned the workshop materials into a longer book called Community Event Planning that we published as an ebook in 2014.
Over the next year we’ll be updating the book to create a second edition, with the help of subject matter experts in areas like accessibility and fundraising. We have several years of experience of our own to add, and a first-hand look at how events and communities can change over time.
What you’ll learn
Our second edition of Community Event Planning will cover the entire life-cycle of your event. Expanded from the first edition:
- Setting goals
- Building a team
- Budgets and fundraising
- Marketing and outreach
- Planning your event schedule and content
- Logistics including venue, wifi, and food
- Volunteer management
New in this edition:
- Codes of Conduct and other tools for safer spaces
- Retrospectives, handovers, and continuity
- Choosing software, tools, and contractors
In addition to writing from our own expertise, we’ll be interviewing other event organizers from our technology community to share their best practices. Creating community events is a an ongoing conversation, and we all learn from each other.
Between Audrey and Christie, we’ve organized ten years of a major open source conference, over a dozen unconferences, community productions like Ignite Portland, a ton of open source code sprint gatherings, and multiple long-running user group meetings. Throughout this time, we’ve worked hard to create a welcoming environment and to increase the diversity of our communities. This long-term experience also allows us to reflect on burnout and the sustainability of our community events, and to share what we’ve learned about maintaining vibrant communities.
Rewards for your support
Gratitude: We love and appreciate all of you. Backers who pledge at least $5 will be included on our thank you page.
Stickers: A selection of our favorite stickers from past events.
Digital and print books: We're producing the book in both ebook and physical formats. Either option will include you in the pre-release digital package, starting with the first edition of our book.
Community builder packages: Bundle Community Event Planning with The Responsible Communication Style Guide to guide your team in building more inclusive communities.
Bonus packages: Add even more goodness with a special screen-printed poster version of our Event Planning Bingo card. What could possibly go wrong? We have a few ideas.
Workshops: We'll present an updated version of our event planning workshop for your team.
Over the next year we’ll take the work we did in the first edition of Community Event Planning and rebuild it around an updated content outline. We’ll also conduct a series of interviews with other event organizers, prioritizing those from under-represented groups. We’ll be including communities outside North America in these conversations as well. As we finish each section of the updated book, we’ll send previews to all supporters who choose a reward package which includes the book. We’re eager to incorporate your feedback.
We anticipate the book will be complete and ready to deliver by June 2019.
Risks and challenges
We're doing this through Recompiler Media, which published and shipped a previous book following a successful Kickstarter in 2016. We have additional publishing experience with The Recompiler, a quarterly feminist hacker journal running since 2015. We'll also be relying on our 10+ years of project management and logistical skills that have allowed us to run numerous successful events. With a small team, there's always the possibility of delays, but we've planned extra time and sufficient budget for unexpected challenges that may occur.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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