Announcement: In-person do_action hackathons are back!

As announced in the Make/WordPress Community blog, in-person do_action charity hackathons are back! do_action hackathons moved online in March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the past 18 months, we have had five do_action hackathons so far. As more and more people around the world are getting vaccinated and as the spread COVID-19 pandemic, it is time to bring back in-person do_action charity hackathons. While our online hackathons have been impactful, in-person do_action hackathons bring people volunteers, and non profits together in a shared space, helping to create a wonderful experience for everyone.

How do I organize an in-person do_action charity hackathon

Local WordPress Meetup groups can organize an in-person do_action charity hackathon if their region allows in-person events AND if their COVID cases are under control OR if vaccination/testing is freely available. The flowchart below describes the conditions for organizing an in-person charity hackathon.

If you wish to organize an in-person do_action charity hackathon, follow these steps:

  1. First, check if your local health authority allows in-person events. If local gatherings are not allowed, you cannot organize an in-person event in your region.
  2. If your local health authority allows in-person events, fill up the in-person meetup decision checklist in the Make/Community Handbook. (Here’s a direct link)
  3. If the checklist recommends that you organize a do_action hackathon, go ahead and fill up the do_action event application. A community deputy will get back to you with more details on how to organize the event.
  4. If the checklist does not recommend organizing an in-person event, you can still consider organizing an online do_action event.

The WordPress Foundation would like to highlight do_action events (whether they are held online or in-person) on the WordPress Foundation website (wordpressfoundation.org), through social media, and whenever possible, in local media. Send an email to info@doaction.org or ping one of the Community Deputies in Make/WordPress Slack if you would like help with organizing a do_action hackathon or if you need help with outreach.

Feeling inspired? Do you wish to organize an in-person do_action charity hackathon? Apply now!


do_action Nigeria coming up on November 29 – December 5!

The WordPress community of Nigeria is back once again to organize an online do_action charity hackathon from November 29 – December 5, 2021! For the last three years, local communities in Nigeria have organized in-person do_action WordPress Charity Hackathons in several cities, where they had spent an entire day building brand new websites for a selection of local charities and NGOs. This year, for the second annual regional do_action Nigeria event, the team aims to repeat the same in an online format, for a handful of charitable organizations! Learn more about the event by following the link below:

Announcement: Online do_action hackathons in India and Nigeria

Following the success of online do_action events worldwide in 2020, the WordPress Foundation is doubling down on its mission by supporting more charity hackathons in 2021. Even as COVID-19 continues to wreck havoc around the world, our community organizers in India and Nigeria are working hard to empower local non profits by helping them build a stellar online presence. We are excited to announce do_action Karnataka 2021 and do_action Nigeria 2021!

do_action Karnataka (India) 2021

do_action Karnataka will be a week-long online hackathon which is being planned on: 07 – 15 Aug 2021. WordPress enthusiasts in the state of Karnataka, India are coming together to organize this event, and the efforts are led by the WordPress Bengaluru meetup group. Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka, has already seen a successful do_action event in 2019.

do_action Bengaluru 2019
A snapshot from do_action Bengaluru 2019

The hackathon has shortlisted three Non-profits: Luv Kush Foster Home (a foster home that aims to care for animals in need), Peacespark Foundation (which aims to support the education of underprivileged children), and Vridhi Foundation (Women and children welfare). The event has also put forth its call for participants/volunteers – if you would like to support non-profits by helping them build websites, simply fill up the form on the event website. Read the participant’s guide for more details on what is expected of you when you sign up. You can also support the event by signing up as a sponsor. Please email the organizers at: karnataka@doaction.org if you are interested in sponsoring the event.

You can find more details about the event in their website:

do_action Nigeria 2021

Following the spectacular success of do_action Nigeria 2020, the vibrant WordPress community of Nigeria is back once again to organize an online do_action charity hackathon from October 25 through October 31, 2021! For the last three years, local communities in Nigeria have organized in-person do_action WordPress Charity Hackathons in several cities, where they had spent an entire day building brand new websites for a selection of local charities and NGOs. This year, for the second annual regional do_action Nigeria event, the team aims to repeat the same in an online format, for a handful of charitable organizations! 

do_action Lagos2019
Participants are building websites for non-profits at do_action Lagos 2019.

do_action Nigeria has currently opened up its call for non-profits. If you represent a non-profit based out of Nigeria which does not have an online presence, please submit the application on the event website. Applications close on the 15th September 2021. You can also support the event by sponsoring the event, please visit the do_action Nigeria website for more details. You can also email the organizers at: nigeria@doaction.org if you would like to support the event.

Organize a do_action charity hackathon in your region

Are you excited about these upcoming do_action events? Would you like to support your local community by organizing a do_action event for your region? Send in your application right away! You can read more about do_action in the event handbook. Don’t  hesitate to ask any questions you may have in the comments. 

Thank you for all that you do to empower the global community through WordPress!

18 years of WordPress

On this very day 18 years ago (May 27th), the first version of the WordPress open source software came out. WordPress has come a long way in the past 18 years. At the time of writing this blog post, WordPress has surpassed 40 releases and powers more than 40% of the web!

Check out these 40 key milestones in the WordPress journey towards 40% of the web!

One of the critical milestones in this journey is the establishment of the WordPress Foundation in January 2010. The foundation aims to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to WordPress and the software projects we support. People and businesses may come and go, so it is essential that the source code for these projects will survive beyond the current contributor base. This will ensure that we have a stable platform for web publishing for generations to come. As part of this mission, the Foundation will protect WordPress, WordCamp, and related trademarks

A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the WordPress Foundation pursues a charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software. We regularly host educational programs like charity hackathons and open source educational events. These programs are made possible through the help of generous donations from our donors

If WordPress has helped you in any way during the past 18 years, kindly consider donating to the WordPress Foundation. Money raised by the WordPress Foundation will be used to ensure free access to supported software projects, protect the WordPress trademark, and fund various programs. In short – your donations will go a long way in helping the WordPress project. You can either make a one-time donation or choose to donate annually. If you sign up for any one of the four annual subscription plans, you will be featured on our Donors page – as a token of our gratitude for supporting education programs about WordPress and open source. 

WordPress would not exist without its team of global contributors that help build the software. The best way to give back to WordPress is to help us build it! You need not be a developer to give back to WordPress – some other ways to contribute to the project include translations, support, community, documentation, and marketing, to name a few. In other words – anyone and everyone can contribute to WordPress, and we strongly encourage you to do so!

Thank you for your support of WordPress over the past 18 years. Your continued patronage will ensure that WordPress will keep going for the next 18 years and beyond! 

Announcement: Upcoming live discussion on do_action charity hackathons

This live discussion has concluded. You can find a video recording of the live discussion on this post or watch it directly on YouTube and on WordPress.tv. Captions and a full transcript of the video will be made available shortly.

Over the past few months, many community organizers have expressed interest in organizing do_action charity hackathons and asked many questions about the event to Community deputies. In order to address these questions – some members of the WordPress Community are organizing a live Tuesday Training discussion on How to organize do_action charity hackathons!

Hari Shanker, Hugh Lashbrooke, Naoko Takano, and Yogesh Londhe – who are all experienced do_action hackathon organizers, will participate in this Live discussion on do_action charity hackathons. The event, which will be streamed LIVE on the WordCamp Central YouTube channel on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 02:00 UTC, is open to all! Community members can also participate in the discussion by asking questions in the live chat, which will be answered by the panelists live, during the session!

What are do_action charity hackathons?

do_action hackathons are community-organized events that are focused on using WordPress to give deserving charitable organizations their own online presence. Each do_action event includes participants from the local WordPress community coming together to plan and build brand new websites for a number of local organizations in one day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do_action hackathons have moved online.

In this session, we talk about do_action events, and their importance in this post-pandemic world, and on how to effectively organize an online do_action hackathon.

Watch the discussion!

The live discussion has concluded, but you can catch a recording of the session below.

Date and time: Tuesday April 13, 2021, 02:00 UTC (Click to view in your local time)
You can sign up for notifications on the YouTube live link below!

In case the timing is off, and if you will not be able to join the live event, fret not! The event recording will be available on YouTube, and will soon be uploaded to WordPress.tv as well!
As mentioned above, while the live discussion has concluded, don’t forget to check out the recording of the live discussion above. We are working on adding captions for the video and will share a transcript of the same, shortly.

We hope that this session was useful. We strongly encourage you to organize a do_action charity hackathon to support your local non-profits by giving them a WordPress-powered online presence. Thank you for all that you do to support the global WordPress Community!

5 tips for organizing a successful online do_action charity hackathon

In 2020, unfazed by the COVID-19 pandemic, community organizers rallied together and worked hard to give a WordPress-powered web presence for charities through online charity hackathons. Our passionate and resilient community members are pulling out all stops this year to continue the good work. We already have two applications for do_action events in the queue, with more in the pipeline! This post aims to encourage all our zealous organizers with tips on how best to organize successful online do_action charity hackathons.

  1. Recruit a core team and prepare an event plan
    Enlist a team of 5-10 members to wrangle the event. Much like a WordCamp, organizers need to plan do_action events down to the last detail. Make sure you have a plan for the entire event lifecycle – including selecting nonprofits, finding volunteers, finding sponsors, task management, and execution. For inspiration, check out how the do_action Japan team came up with a plan for the event beforehand! Having a solid communication strategy and setting deadlines is equally important. Finding answers to questions like: “When do volunteer teams meet?”,  “How often should there be check-ins?”,  “How do we track tasks?”,  “How do we measure progress?” and “ What deadlines do we need to meet?” for instance, will help in devising a strategy.
  2. Finding non-profits and volunteers 
    Finding eligible non-profits for your event could be a challenge. When your event publishes the call for non-profits, share it widely on social media. Since this is a charitable event, we have noticed that getting PR from local news media outlets is a lot easier. You might also want to reach out to Non-profit organizations and offer assistance proactively. You can follow the same approach for volunteer recruitment too.
  3. Fix your collaboration tools and communication strategy
    Since this will be an online event, you will need the right collaboration tools to make the event successful. Please note: A doaction.org G Suite/Google Workspace account will be provided to all do_action event organizers in 2021 and beyond! Feel free to use that account for all your needs. Check out the handbook page for more information. Here are some tools that you can use for your event:
    • doaction.org website (call for nonprofits & hackathon participants)
    • Slack (overall event prep, communication on the event days) – A free plan will be sufficient.
    • Zoom (event organizer & inter-team meetings, opening/closing remarks) – WordPress Community zoom accounts can be used. 
    • Google Workspace tools (provided to all 2021 organizers in the location@doaction.org format) – Gmail (inquiries & sponsor communication), Google Forms (call for organizers & sponsors, post-event survey), Google Sheets (task & data management), Google Docs (collaborative editing of documents, Google Drive (for storage needs),  and Google Slides (opening/closing remarks presentation)
    • WordPress.com P2 – for task management
    • Trello – for task management.
    • Figma (design)
  4. Finding sponsors
    For online do_action events, organizers need not worry about venue or catering expenses. Hence, sponsorship benefits for these events can be passed along directly to non-profits. Most WordPress companies are passionate about supporting non-profits, and providing product/service licenses is a cost-effective way for them to support the community. Consider reaching out to specific companies as per your needs. Sponsorship benefits that do_action events in 2020 had availed include:
    • Free domain and web hosting for non-profits
    • Sponsored premium plugins and themes (Only 100% GPL Compliant themes and plugins are allowed)
    • Sponsored website services (backups, caching, security, optimization, etc.)
  5. Find a way to offer post-event support for non-profit websites
    Make sure that once the event is over, each non-profit is trained on how to use and update the site. Perhaps a few volunteers could provide post-event support for a short while (while ensuring that the right expectations are set on both sides). Offering post-event support as a sponsorship benefit could also be a solution to that problem.

Does all of this sound exciting? Would you like to support your local community by organizing a do_action event? Send in your application right away! You can read more about do_action in the event handbook. Thank you for all that you do to support the global community through WordPress.

The Basic principles of Open-source Software

The WordPress Foundation aims to educate the public about WordPress and related open-source software (OSS). Towards that end, the WordPress Foundation created the Introduction to Open-source workshops, which shed more light on the potential of open-source software, particularly in countries where there is less participation in OSS projects. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these workshops have moved online. The WordPress Foundation hopes to see more open-source workshops held online this year to help spread awareness about the importance of open-source software.

What are open-source software and Free Software?

Open-source software is software whose source code is available for anyone to view, modify and enhance. Free software refers to software that complies with “four essential freedoms” – to use, study, modify and distribute software for any purpose without legal restraint. Open-source software is characterized by the public accessibility of its code, while free software focuses on the capabilities for using and sharing the software.

Advantages of Free and Open-source Software over Proprietary software

Proprietary software is distributed in executable files where the source code is encrypted and not available. Free and Open-source software enables users to read and modify the code, thus allowing a host of advantages such as little (or no) cost, faster distribution, greater customization, and easy availability of bugs and security patches, to name a few. 

The Introduction to Open-source workshops cover the difference between different software types, the history of open-source software, its advantages over proprietary software, and how this applies to WordPress. The workshop also explains the differences between free and Open-source software and highlights the different types of software licenses. 

Want to learn more about Free and Open-source software? Participate in an Introduction to Open-source workshop!

There are four ways you can participate in an Introduction to Open-source workshop! 

  1. You can attend the Introduction to WordPress workshop from the comfort of your home! Learn WordPress now features an Introduction to Open-source video workshop that you can watch at your convenience. 
  2. Community members can also now host or participate in Introduction to Open-source workshop discussion groups in the Learn WordPress meetup group for a global audience. Sign-ups are now open for the following two discussion groups:

If you would like to host an Introduction to Open-source discussion group for a global audience, please apply to become a discussion group facilitator. 

  1. WordPress Meetup groups worldwide are also encouraged to organize an Introduction to WordPress watch party + discussion group (based on the Learn WordPress workshop on Introduction to Open-source) as part of their meetup (it does not need any prior approval). 
  2. Lesson plans for the Introduction to Open-source workshops are available! Meetup group organizers can plan their live open-source workshop based on the lesson plans. 

The WordPress Foundation invites community members across the world to join these open-source workshops and to organize workshops and discussion groups in their communities to help spread our mission of serving the public good with the help of Open-source software.

Meetup groups organizing Introduction to Open-source workshops will be featured on this website. All you need to do is to reach out to us with a brief write-up about your workshop along with pictures, and we’ll publish them here!

do_action hackathons and open-source workshops in 2021

In 2020, we saw do_action events and open-source workshops move online. Around the world, community members organized 5 do_action hackathons (4 of which were online) and a handful of open-source workshops last year. In moving these events online, community organizers not only brought their WordPress community closer together, but they were also able to make a positive impact on their local or regional community in an exceptionally-difficult year.  

Seeing this impact, we would like to help more organizers host even more of these online charity hackathons (do_action events) and Introduction to Open Source workshops in 2021. This post shares more information for community organizers who would like to organize do_action events in 2021.

do_action charity hackathons

Based on feedback from the community members, do_action events so far have been quite impactful in how they bring participants together to help non-profits establish an online presence, something all the more significant in 2021. Here is how we plan to support do_action events in 2021:

  • Improving the online do_action event documentation: The community team is currently working on revamping the documentation for online do_action events to include tips on remote collaboration, using collaboration tools, remote project management etc. Additionally, we will be reaching out to past do_action organizers to share recaps and help share task lists to help organizers get used to the online event format. 
  • Sponsored accounts: Organizers can reserve and use Community-sponsored Zoom Pro accounts for their events. 
  • Countrywide do_action events: There were a few countrywide do_action events in 2020. More regional/countrywide events are encouraged. 
  • Linking do_action events with WordCamps and mentoring: Since WordCamps are also online, organizers can organize do_action events in tandem with their online WordCamps, for more impact. Similarly, new do_action organizers will get mentoring from past organizers/mentors/community deputies.
  • Technology changes: The following changes will be implemented on the doaction.org website in 2021 to support our organizers in a better way: 
    • doaction.org to Google Workspace / G Suite (so that organizers can use custom emails – get access to a branded Google Workspace account) – Due March 2021
    • Doaction.org will be modified to support multiple event dates. – Due June 2021
    • The do_action application will be moved to doaction.org.- Due June 2021

Does all of this sound exciting? If you would like to organize a do_action event in your locality, please send in your application through this form! Community deputies will get back to you shortly to take it forward.

Introduction to Open-source workshops

Introduction to Open Source workshops help spread knowledge and understanding of the open web and open source. They have also been instrumental in onboarding new contributors to WordPress. With the Learn WordPress workshops on Introduction to Open-source, meetup groups could host a watch party of the recorded workshop or organize a discussion group. Here’s how community members can organize open-source workshops in 2021. 

Organizers can feature these workshops and discussion groups in the WordPress Foundation blogs by reaching out to the community team. Since open-source workshops are online, there is no cost involved in organizing them, but organizers can always request paid zoom accounts for their event

The WordPress community has the power to uplift and empower people across the world by organizing these events. Our community organizers have already done stellar work in 2020, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we step into 2021, we look forward to supporting and seeing what organizers do with these online events to help their communities!

Open Source Workshops: November 2020 report

The WordPress Foundation has been organizing Introduction to Open Source workshops, as part of our continuing efforts to educate the public about WordPress and related open-source software (OSS). In 2019, as part of our goal of organizing workshops in parts of the world with less participation in open source, we held four successful workshops in India, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Thimphu. 

By March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had engulfed the world, forcing community organizers to cancel all in-person events. Unfazed by these challenges, our community organizers pivoted to online events by organizing four successful online charity hackathons in Japan, South Africa, India, and Nigeria, so far. The Introduction to Open Source workshops have also moved online. The workshop is now available online as part of Learn WordPress, which is a brand new initiative from WordPress contributor teams to help people learn how to use, build for, and contribute to WordPress. Community members across the world can now learn about Open-Source safely from the comfort of their homes and test their knowledge using the embedded quiz. The workshops are also followed by discussion groups, where participants can discuss their learnings in real-time and find answers to their questions.  

As of November 2020, the Introduction to Open-source workshop video has been viewed 757 times. Three online discussion group events with over 152 RSVPs were also held successfully. Sign-ups are open for two more discussion groups that are listed below:

You can watch the workshop video and participate in these discussion groups to learn about open-source software and find answers to your questions on open-source.

In addition to these scheduled discussion groups, community organizers can organize their own online discussion groups (based on the lesson plan)or hold online watch parties for the Introduction to Open-Source workshop

Given the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, WordPress Foundation events are likely to be held online in 2021. We will be announcing our plans for 2021 events later this year.

Charity Hackathons: August 2020 Report

In September 2019, we shared about the progress of do_action charity hackathons for the year. We went on to work with 15 local communities to organize charity hackathons in 2019, which is a remarkable improvement over the 12 events from 2018.

2020 brought in some unexpected challenges for community organizers across the world due to COVID-19. By March 2020, the pandemic had spread out to most parts of the world, and hence many organizers were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel their planned in-person events. Despite these challenges, community organizers worldwide joined hands with a firm resolve to help charities by organizing online do_action events. As a result, we have seen three online do_action events in 2020 so far, with more events in the pipeline. 

Volunteers of do_action Japan doing a virtual wave.

In pre-COVID-19 times, do_action events were local – with volunteers and NGOs belonging to the respective cities. However, since online events are location-agnostic, organizers decided to experiment with larger do_action events that elicited participants spanning an entire country! The first of such events – do_action Japan – was a success! The event was followed by do_action South Africa in June and do_action India in August. Community organizers have embraced the online event format and are excited about the process.

As geographical restrictions had eased, community organizers went a step ahead and used the opportunity to help out charities located in far-flung areas. Instead of a single day event, local communities experimented with spreading out the event over multiple days or weeks. Organizers, volunteers, and charities also used tools such as Slack and Zoom to collaborate during the event.

A screenshot from a do_action India launch event.

The three events that have already taken place in 2020 saw 359 participants helping out 23 non-profits build their brand new websites. Volunteers also trained these Non-profits on how to use their websites after each event.

Here are some of the websites built at these do_action events:

More than strengthening these charities’ web presence, the websites help these charities in furthering their mission by assisting them to attract volunteers, teach courses, receive donations, and help more people. Our community members’ excellent work goes the extra mile in taking forward the mission and vision of these organizations.

Volunteers of do_action South Africa are helping non-profits learn how to use the WordPress block editor.

We live in challenging times, where the actions of a global community have the power to uplift others’ lives. Unfazed by the challenges of COVID-19, our communities have done stellar work to support charities that contribute to the greater good. As we move forward to the rest of 2020, we are excited to see what our communities do for even more non-profit organizations, and how the do_action program will grow and adapt to an online format!