Non-Coders Wanted: How to Get and Keep Non-technical Volunteers


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Many distributions sorely need writers for documentation, press releases and blogging or experts on outreach, fundraising and volunteer management or a friendly pack of translators, but aren't sure how to get them. Non-coders do want to contribute to free software, but they need slightly different framing and like all contributors they thrive with the proper care and feeding. Tweaking your volunteer pitch, looking in different places, being open to different communications channels, and finding ways to appreciate folks will help immensely.

Once you've got them, letting your new non-coding contributors get on with what they're good at will help them feel invested. In this talk, I'll discuss how to set parameters for non-coding tasks so that everyone is happy. With some basic benchmarks for scheduling, accountability and volunteer empowerment, you'll be able to retain and excite your new non-coding volunteers. Want more visibility, a better user experience, nicer materials or more well-organized events for your distro? Start bringing in folks with the skills and enthusiasm to make it happen!

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Non-Coders Wanted: How to Get and Keep Non-technical Volunteers

  1. 1. Noncoders Wanted Deb Nicholson- FOSDEM-Jan. 2, 2014
  2. 2. People do not fit into tiny boxes
  3. 3. No one else is doing it?
  4. 4. Spread too thin
  5. 5. Why I'm giving this talk
  6. 6. Why close the circle?
  7. 7. Free Software needs all kinds of people
  9. 9. Help with all the things?
  10. 10. Who knows what you need?
  11. 11. Who knows what you need? (Hint: It might not be you.)
  12. 12. Non-coders are the same
  13. 13. And they're also different
  14. 14. Probably not the same place you found your coders
  15. 15. Unless it's the GNOME Outreach Program for Women
  16. 16. A special note about internships
  17. 17. More than just grunt work
  18. 18. Prepare
  19. 19. Clear is/is not
  20. 20. Check your lines of communication
  21. 21. KEEPING THEM
  22. 22. Teamwork makes the dream work.
  23. 23. Working towards one goal
  24. 24. Team-players are more invested
  25. 25. A little recognition can go a long way
  26. 26. Always be including
  27. 27. Reciprocal
  28. 28. Habit-forming!
  29. 29. You do not want to be known for not doing it
  30. 30. Everyone is an expert at something
  31. 31. You'll get your you-know-what handed to you
  32. 32. Get rid of the pedestal
  33. 33. Not because sadness
  34. 34. (although I am opposed to unnecessary sadness)
  35. 35. Because there are other fishes in the sea
  36. 36. Because there are other goblins in the sea
  37. 37. RECAP
  38. 38. Everyone is an expert at something
  39. 39. Bonus points for finding out why they work on your project
  40. 40. Or they will leave
  41. 41. Picture credits CC.BY.SA It's All Gone Horribly Wrong, by Rob Myers (Mediagoblin) - Not Hearing That, by Paul Stevenson (Flickr) - Bean Bag Kid, by Peter Clark (Flickr) - Giant Ear?, by jmrodri (Flickr) - Big Ball, by Mike Cogh (Flickr) - SWOT, by Xhienne (Wikipedia) CC.BY via Flickr Mountain Sunrise, by Chris Wary - Help Wanted, by photologue mp - Signed Jersey, by Richard BH - Listening Cat, by Zanastardust - Black Belt, by Camera Eye Photography - Mustard Green, by soomen - Wuhan Garden, by toehk CC.0 In Your Internet, by Chris Webber (MediaGoblin) Public Domain Gravity from NASA (Wikipedia) Fair Use Sneetches by Dr. Seuss - "Ugly Jesus" from Daily Mail
  42. 42. Monochromatic
  43. 43. All the plants! Questions?