News

Charity Hackathons in 2017

When we were looking forward to 2017, one of our goals was to work with local WordPress communities to organize charity hackathons in order to help non-profits benefit from open source tools. We made sure to achieve this goal by bringing the do_action event series into our program.

do_action is a charity hackathon that uses WordPress to uplift local communities by having volunteers come together to build websites for non-profit organizations.

Over the course of the year, we supported four local communities in running do_action events – Johannesburg, Beirut, Cape Town and Montreal. Each event was very successful, resulting in a total of 122 volunteers building WordPress sites for 17 different non-profits organizations — with the financial and logistical support from the WordPress Foundation to make it all possible.

Here is a small selection of the sites that were created at these hackathons:

Along with their websites, the non-profits also received invaluable WordPress training, making these events educational as well as charitable.

Looking back

We chatted to the organizers of the four events this year to get an idea of why they chose to do them, and how they feel about it all – they had some interesting insight into their events and the impact that the do_action events can have worldwide.

Beirut

The Beirut event was held on July 8 — they had 30 volunteers attending and helped 3 organizations get online with WordPress.

The primary organizer for the Beirut event, Marina Pape, had a great team working with her to make it happen. She said that “do_action seemed a good fit as the tech scene in Beirut is pretty alive and there are a lot of NGOs doing great stuff, but needing websites.”

Group of participants from do_action BeirutThe event “went smoothly, with a great group of people. It met the goal of rallying the WordPress community, creating connections between WordPress developers, designers, and marketing people.”

Marina and the Beirut community are interested in organizing another event in the do_action series for 2018.

Cape Town

This was Cape Town’s fourth annual do_action event — this year they held the event on July 15 and had 70 volunteers working to build new WordPress websites for 9 organizations.

I was the lead organizer for the Cape Town event and we put the event together because we wanted to open our local WordPress community to the broader community of Cape Town and using our web-building skills for this just made sense — we, as a WordPress community, have all the skills needed to build a great online presence for anyone. Couple that with the fact that there is a lot of need amongst Cape Town non-profits for this kind of thing, and an event like this becomes the logical next step.

Cape Town do_action participants working on the non-profits websites
Photo by Basil Parker: Instagram @basilparker

While it’s difficult to gauge the impact of a do_action event in its entirety, we’re confident that we met the goals for the day. The non-profits all left with great new websites along with training on how to use them effectively in order to grow their own causes — that’s the goal of this event.

Aside from the broader impact of the non-profits being more empowered to continue their good work, our WordPress community worked together in a way that we never have before — the impact of this on each of us as individuals and our community as a whole has been fantastic. We now have a greater awareness for organizations outside of our usual circle, and we have shown that we can use WordPress as a powerful tool to provide a dynamic platform for any non-profit organization.

Johannesburg

Johannesburg held their event on February 4; 10 volunteers attended and they helped 1 charity with a new WordPress website.

Seagyn Davis, who was the lead organizer for the Johannesburg event, said that they “always love giving towards good causes and do_action is a great initiative that allows them to use the great skills found in the WordPress community to do something really great for someone who really needs it.”

When we asked about the possibility of doing do_action again in 2018, he said that “the people that were involved really loved it and would do it again” — they are in the process of recruiting an organizing team for the next event already.

Montreal

Montreal hosted their event on October 14 — they had 28 volunteers coming together to build WordPress websites for 4 organizations.

The motivation behind the Sasha Endoh’s plans in leading the Montreal event, was that though her “business is focused on working with non-profit clients, there are many times when smaller organizations who do important work can’t quite afford to hire a professional team for their project.” She wanted to give back to the community “by giving support to these organizations and helping them have a greater impact.”

Montreal do_action participants working on the non-profits websites
Photo by Jer Clarke: jerclarke.org

When asked after the event about what impact she felt the hackathon had on the broader community of Montreal, Sasha commented that, by assisting the organizations that took part, “we hope to have helped to bring more cultural events, create a community space, connect and support folks who’ve been through the foster (care) and adoption system, and put a dent in the abandoned animal problem in our city.”

“It was amazing to see so many different folks come together for a good cause — the organizing team is eager to go to work on the next event!”

Looking ahead

The plan for 2018 is to continue promoting the do_action hackathons and supporting more communities that wish to organize them, around the world. There are already four events on the schedule for next year – three of which are in cities that have never hosted one before (Bristol, Pune and Zurich) along with one returning city (Cape Town) – and we fully expect at least another five communities to be organizing their own events over the course of the year too.

If you’d like to become an organizer for a local do_action event, you can find out more in the organizer’s handbook.

To help support this program, and the WordPress Foundation’s other efforts to educate people about open source and WordPress, you can donate here!

2017 Kim Parsell Scholarship Recipient: Bianca Welds

This year’s Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship recipient has been selected by members of the WordPress global community team. Over the past two years, Bianca Welds has worked with the local community to bring education around technology and help others achieve entrepreneurial success in the online space. Currently residing in Kingston, Jamaica, Welds is a new contributor and is ready to kickstart progress in her community.

You can read more about Bianca and what led her to this opportunity on the WordCamp US site. More information on the scholarship, including information on past recipients, is available here.

Call for Organizers: Introduction to Open Source

To further the WordPress Foundation’s charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software (OSS), we want to sponsor a new series of workshops/training events introducing people to open source.

Specifically, we want to shine more light on the potential of open source software in countries where there is less participation in OSS projects. To help spread the word about the potential that open source has to offer, we’d like to provide financial support for two educational events this year, to be organized in parts of the world with less participation in open source: Latin and South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia*. Here’s what we have in mind:

Event title: Introduction to Open Source

Event description: What do people mean when they use the term Open Source when referring to software? This workshop will cover that question as well as what the GPL software license provides, why WordPress is an open-source project, and how this is important for both the users of WordPress and the contributors to WordPress.

Event purpose: Spread knowledge and understanding of the open web and open source through two-hour training events, staffed and organized by local communities, and financially supported by the WordPress Foundation, using training materials here: https://make.wordpress.org/training/handbook/user-lessons/what-is-open-source/ and https://make.wordpress.org/training/handbook/user-lessons/what-can-you-do-with-wordpress/

Financial support: up to $500 USD per event, available to defray costs associated with event venue, refreshments, and/or videography.

Expectations for organizers: Event should be free of cost, open to anyone, and organized/held in 2017. Strong preference will be given to organizers who are already members of a community group that is part of the WordPress open source project’s meetup chapter program, but has not yet organized a WordCamp. Organizers should not need to solicit additional event sponsorship. Financial support will be provided via Paypal or wire transfer, and will require documentation.

Interested in organizing an event like this? Fill out this 10-question application!

We’ll close applications on August 21, and notify the successful applicants no later than September 8, 2017.

*According to a recent study, the majority of Github participation in OSS projects is centered in North America and Western and Northern Europe.

Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship

We’ve added information on the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship, which provides funding annually for a woman who contributes to WordPress to attend WordCamp US, to our site. We’ll also announce the 2017 awardee here, when this year’s selection process is complete.

The Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship supports the mission of the WordPress Foundation to democratize publishing, supporting participation in open source by people who are historically underrepresented in the world of tech.

Financial Reports Available

Financial reports from 2013, 2014, and 2015 are now posted and available. Later this year we’ll close the books on 2016 and share those as well. Part of our mission is to ensure free access to the software projects we support, which we do in many ways including educational events, financial support of non-profits, and charity hackathons.

Some highlights of our work in the past three years:
– In 2013 we had $848,925 in sponsorship donations funding 71 WordCamps, 40 of which were international.
– In 2014, the WordPress Foundation organized an experimental travel assistance program to remove financial barriers to attending the WordPress Community Summit at WordCamp San Francisco.
– The number of WordCamps outside the United States increased by 17% over the reported period ending with 47 events over the course of 2015.

For more information, follow the links below:
WordPress Foundation 2013 Financials
WordPress Foundation 2014 Financials
WordPress Foundation 2015 Financials

Looking forward to a great 2017

Happy New Year! We are excited for a great 2017. This year the WordPress Foundation will continue to pursue our educational mission in a number of ways.

First, we plan to contribute financially to other non-profit organizations; we’ll be making major (to us) grants to Hack the Hood, Internet Archive, and Black Girls Code. Second, we’ll be working with local WordPress communities to organize charity hackathons, helping non-profits benefit from open source tools. Finally, we plan to promote education about open source in economically disadvantaged nations.

If you’re interested in how you can support the WordPress Foundation in these efforts — maybe you want to organize a charity hackathon in your community or volunteer to teach a free class about open source software — please drop us a line and tell us how you’d like to help.

The other major news from 2016 is the creation of the new subsidiary, WordPress Community Support, PBC. This entity will continue to support WordCamps and WordPress user groups across the world hand in hand with the volunteers who dedicate their time.

For more news and details, keep an eye on this blog!

Introducing WordPress Community Support, A Public Benefit Subsidiary

Since January, we’ve been working on switching all operations related to official WordCamp and Meetup organizing to the new subsidiary of the WordPress Foundation, which is a public benefit corporation called WordPress Community Support, PBC (WPCS).

One of the main advantages to the change from the WordPress Foundation (a non-profit) to the WPCS (a public benefit corporation) is that the rules around sponsoring official WordPress events are much simpler. The WordPress Community team has updated sponsor rules to eliminate the barriers to value-add details on promotional items, while keeping rules that helped us form a trustworthy, community-focused sponsor program.

This also means that, by and large, the WordPress Foundation is no longer the financial entity for WordCamps and Meetups. Donations to the WordPress Foundation will still be accepted, and will support the Foundation’s charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software.

One of the few disadvantages to this switch is that WordCamps and meetup/user groups are no longer eligible for non-profit discounts. While this does present a problem for some groups, we think that the benefits we can provide outweigh the loss of the discounts for non-profit status.

WordPress Foundation currently holds a blanket insurance policy that covers all WordCamps in the US and Canada. WordPress Community Support, PBC is being added to that policy as a subsidiary, and we’ll be able to issue certificates with WPCS as the insured party, just like we did with the Foundation last year. All events using the WordPress Foundation name and info on their contract in 2016 will be covered by the blanket policy.

Large portions of this are excerpted from the post here, by Andrea Middleton.

WordPress Foundation: An End-of-Year Snapshot

Howdy! The WordPress Foundation filed taxes for 2012 recently, and we’d like to talk about how we pursued the Foundation’s charter to educate the public about WordPress and supported opportunities for people to get involved in web publishing and open source projects across the globe.

In 2012, the WordPress Foundation provided support and guidance for a total of 67 WordCamps, organized by volunteers in communities all over the world. There were 22 WordCamps in cities or countries that had never had a WordCamp before — exciting! The WordPress Foundation supported 43 WordCamps by acting as their legal and financial entity in 2012. Not only does this provide legal protection in case an organizer is sued, but it also makes it possible for anyone, no matter what their financial situation, to organize a WordCamp, and protects organizers from getting into tax trouble with their respective governments.

Of the Foundation’s total revenue, the majority related to WordCamps that used the WordPress Foundation as their financial entity (43 in all):

  • $345,020 — Corporate sponsorship donations to WordCamps (59% total revenue).
  • $228,132 — WordCamp ticket sales (39% total revenue).
  • $9,343 — Individual sponsorship donations to WordCamps (1.6% total revenue).
  • $3,298 — Donations unrelated to WordCamps (0.6% total revenue).
  • $528 — Royalty income (0.09% total revenue).

Total Foundation’s expenditures equalled $580,161, as detailed below:

  • $525,361 (91%) related to WordCamps that used the WordPress Foundation as their financial entity.
  • $32,741 (6%) related to WordPress.tv content production.
  • $22,059 (3%) related to operational expenses.

Unsurprisingly, major WordCamp expenses were concentrated in venue and food & beverage.

Expense

Percentage of total expense

Average

Food & beverage, including after-parties and speaker events $216,003 41% $4,214
Venue rental $150,347 29% $3,348
Event tees and other swag* $93,208 18% $2,163
Travel scholarships** $26,952 5% N/A
Printing & signage $19,276 4% $448
International WordCamp grants*** $7,054.47 1% $164
Furnishing rentals $6,390.79 1% $149
Insurance $5,280.98 1% $123

*  Classified as advertising and promotion on tax documents.

** The WordPress Foundation occasionally provides travel scholarships to commit-level contributors who require assistance to travel to WordCamps and speak. Also, in 2012, the WordPress community organized its first Contributor Summit, which included approximately $20,000 of travel scholarships for attendees who could not afford to attend the summit otherwise.

*** The WordPress Foundation helped some 2012 WordCamps that didn’t use the Foundation as their financial entity by forwarding corporate sponsorship payments from companies unable to send them money directly.

The WordPress Foundation also supported the publishing of 431 videos from WordCamps held in 2012 to WordPress.tv by providing video camera kits to WordCamps. These kits include an HD camcorder, tripod, external microphone, SD cards, and a hard case for shipping. We covered the cost of shipping the video camera kits from WordCamp to WordCamp and added seven video camera kits to our collection: two new kits in the US (for a total of eight kits in the US), three in Canada, and two in the EU. 445 WordCamp videos were posted to WordPress.tv in 2012, almost double the number from 2011.

The total expenditure of this program was $32,741:

  • Video Kit Shipping: $6,526
  • Video Kits & A/V Equipment: $9,605
  • Video Processing or Videography: $16,610

Major Foundation operational expenses included:

  • Legal and accounting fees: $7,115
  • Paypal fees: $6,648
  • Meetup.com dues for WordPress meetups: $4,500
  • Banking fees (which allow us to execute international wire transfers): $2,341

We hope to publish 2013 data sometime in the first half of 2014. We’re so happy with the way the WordPress community is growing!

WordPress.tv in 2013: Video Selections

There’s always something new on WordPress.tv, from keynote presentations to behind-the-scenes looks at recent WordCamps all over the world. Here, we’ve compiled some great videos uploaded this year, primarily of first-time presenters at WordCamps. You’ll find an assortment of topics, so dive in — there’s something for everyone.

Kronda Adair — WordCamp Portland 2013
WordPress DevOps Power Hour
Kronda introduces Capistrano, what you can do with it, and what it takes to get started using it. She also provides starter resources to help you get going with automated deployments.

Nicole Rose Dion — WordCamp Reno-Tahoe 2013
Integrating Social Media Into WordPress
Nicole discusses how to make it easy for visitors to engage with your site socially, and how to make sure you’re tracking everything with Google Analytics.

Mark Tilly — WordCamp Reno-Tahoe 2013
How Content Curation Makes You a Better Writer
Mark covers the essentials of content curation and explains how, with regular practice, this type of content can enhance your site and improve your own writing.

Steph Yiu — WordCamp Providence 2013
VIP Tools for Writers and Editors
Steph’s presentation shares plugins an editorial team at a small publication can use to get the VIP treatment.

Kyle Unzicker — WordCamp Grand Rapids 2013
My First 414 Days as a Freelancer: A Retrospective
Kyle’s talk is a straightforward and candid retrospective of the first 414 days as a freelancer.

Alison Barrett — WordCamp Phoenix 2013
Advanced Actions and Filters
In this session, Alison talks about actions and filters, and covers some lesser-known yet useful WordPress hooks. She discusses creating and using your own hooks when making theme frameworks, parent themes, and plugins.

Michelle Weber — WordCamp Phoenix 2013
Zero to Hero: Customization, Content, and Community
Michelle offers an overview on getting started on WordPress.com, covering site customization, creating content, and becoming part of the blogging community.

Andrea Tetrault — WordCamp Winnipeg 2013
Ride. Write. Repeat.
Andrea talks about blogging on WordPress within her niche and the relentless use of social media.

Lindsay Branscombe — WordCamp Providence 2013
Navigating the Forest of E-commerce: A Guided Tour
Here, Lindsay talks about developing an e-commerce site.

Interested in upcoming WordCamps? Browse the WordCamp schedule. Don’t see your city on the list? Check out what it takes to become an organizer.

Making WordPress: How to Get Involved

WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world contributing to it — they work on code, provide support, do translations, organize events, write documentation, review plugins and themes, and are involved in many other projects.

Contributors are grouped into teams, and each team has a site on make.wordpress.org to communicate with others and share updates about what they’re working on. Want to get involved in the WordPress community but not sure how or where to start? Start your search at make.wordpress.org, where you can follow these official team blogs and WordPress developer resources.

WordPress contributor teams at a glance

Accessibility: This is the site for the WordPress accessibility group, dedicated to improving accessibility in core WordPress and related projects. To get in touch with the team, use the contact form. They’re also seeking WordPress users to join their Working Group — from assistive technology users and users with disabilities to developers who have experience in the field of web accessibility. You can tweet the team @WPAccessibility or join the weekly chat on Wednesday at 19:00 UTC in #wordpress-ui on Freenode.

Community: This blog of the WordPress community outreach team is dedicated to growing and strengthening the WordPress contributor community. The group strives to improve the contributor experience with projects like the welcome wagon, mentorship programs, and diversity initiatives. If you have a question about one of the team’s projects, use the Ask a Question form.

Core: Interested in what the core development team is working on? Here, follow the team’s progress with weekly meeting agendas, project schedules, and updates. To learn how to get involved with core, the core contributor handbook offers resources on contributing with testing and with code, best practices and coding standards, and tutorials and guides. You’re welcome to attend weekly developer chats to keep up with what’s happening (Wednesdays at 20:00 UTC in #wordpress-dev on Freenode), though the agenda is generally limited to discussion by active contributors.

Documentation: This site is the hub for all things documentation — the WordPress Codex (the online manual for WordPress), developer handbooks and other projects, and best practices. The team’s weekly chat is on Thursdays at 20:00 UTC in #wordpress-sfd.

Events: The events blog is the nerve center for events-related news and updates, including WordCamp and WordPress meetup announcements, WordPress.tv moderation discussions, and general event planning and guidelines. Join in on weekly chats in #wordpress-events (check the site’s sidebar for times). (You can also learn about organizing a WordCamp or getting involved with WordPress.tv, too.)

Meta: The meta blog is for announcements and resources by (and directed to) the developers of the WordPress.org website.

Mobile: This development blog for all the official WordPress apps (iOSAndroidWindows Phone, and BlackBerry) compiles dev chat summaries and project updates. For developers itching to get involved, the best place to start is the mobile handbook, which gives instructions on how to get set up with any app environment. You can also join the team in #wordpress-mobile on Wednesdays at 8:00 am PST to learn about the status of mobile projects and how to contribute.

Polyglots: The polyglots site is for translators working on the latest releases of WordPress, and the blog to follow if you’re interested in contributing language support.

Plugins: If you’d like to keep up with announcements and read resources for WordPress plugin developers and the Plugin Directory, this P2 is for you!

Support: The Supporting Everything WordPress site is for people who wish to make WordPress Support the best it can be and to help improve support in the forums, codex, and IRC. (To clarify, this site is *not* the place to go if you seek support for your own site — the WordPress.org Forums are the best place for this!) The weekly chat is on Thursdays, 20:00 UTC, in #wordpress-sfd.

Themes: This is the space for the theme review team, who reviews and approves themes submitted to be included in the Themes Directory. The team also maintains theme review and testing guidelines and educates the theme developer community on best practices. If you’d like to dive in, check out the How to Join WPTRT page. If you have questions about theme review guidelines or best practices, ask on the mail-list.

UI: Here, you can follow along and chime in on project updates and big-picture discussions of the WordPress UI design and development team. Weekly UI chats are Tuesdays at 19:00 UTC in #wordpress-ui.

Updates: This blog is a space for the reps of the WordPress teams above to post weekly updates on project activity for the week, as well as to discuss notable changes to the WordPress project to keep all contributors in the loop. Refer to the site’s sidebar for the schedule.

With nearly a dozen teams contributing to WordPress in different ways, there are many ways to get involved, depending on your background and interests. So, follow along and subscribe to the sites that interest you, and check out this list of team reps to see who’s currently representing a particular team.