How to get techies involved in your project

I often get asked by NonProfits how do I recruit all these techies to my codeathons…

Well as someone that has managed techies and run volunteer management campaigns.  It is simple:

1) know your audience

That might seem rude or overly simplistic but it is true.  Most Nonprofit volunteer coordinators know how to setup projects to the lowest common denominator for block walking, phone banking etc.  You need to find an Open Source techie project manager type and do the same open source process.  A good place to start is http://producingoss.com Karl Fogel literally wrote the book on Open Source Community management. (And I personally adore the man – not a sweeter person on this planet.)

What I have found to work is:

  • Purpose – it is easy for me to get people to work when they understand exactly how it is helping
  • Free/Open Source – make the sure they know you aren’t just getting free work out of them
  • Clarity – define the project scope you probably need to sit down with an actual designer or project manager to do this properly
  • Clear lines of communication – use the tools they are already using i.e. github and wikis
  • Long term – how will this be sustainable? I suggest finding an exist project to support like Drupal or WordPress modules.

Don’t forget the big things…

  • Fun – always have elements that show it will be bonding for programmers and Nonprofits too.
  • Press – make sure their are visual elements for them to video or photograph this gives cred too..


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