More Local Events (and better tools for supporting local events)

We want to help user/meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. groups to do more events (socials, trainings, hackathons, contributor days) by making it easier to provide financial support to event organizers. We also want to track the events that are held and measure whether they’re a good use of the funds that go out.

The Challenge(s):

  1. We don’t have a program that tells local WordPress user groups what kind of events we’re willing to support or how we’ll measure the success of those events.
  2. We don’t have an easy way to collect info from event organizers about the events they want to organize, including budget/location/date.
  3. We don’t have an easy way to collect vendor payment requests associated with these events.

Let’s use existing tools for new programs

Here’s the thing: we already have an application that creates an auto-filled post type on central.wordcamp.org, right? That’s what we use for the WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. application! So, what if we:

  1. create another application just for local groups that want to organize a local-event-that-is-not-a-WordCamp (or heck, we use the same form, add an Event Type field, and just make it branch off into a WordCamp application if they choose WordCamp)…
  2. This form creates an auto-filled post type called Event (or if we want to, we can make lots of different post types: Hackathon, Training, Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/., Viewing Party, Meetup, Social) that we vet/approve just like WordCamp or Meetup applications.
  3. In this form, we collect the following info:
    • Who: wporg username and meetup URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org
    • What: event type
    • When: proposed date
    • Where: address of proposed event
    • How (much): projected budget
    • Why: metrics projections/quantifiable goals of the event
  4. When the form is submitted, it populates a public-facing dashboard of local events that are applying for financial support, including data on proposed cost and goals.
  5. When the grant is approved, that info is added to the public page.
  6. Upon grant approval, the organizer becomes a contributor on Central and gets an automated email with:
    • a link to a page where they can submit a vendor payment/reimbursement request and
    • where they should fill out their event report when the event is complete.
  7. We create a public-facing vendor payment/reimbursement request form that someone can only fill out if they’re logged in, which will include a field for the local event/grant that the expense is linked to, and then process the vendor payments in our normal payments workflow.
  8. If the event goes over-budget, that will be publicly reported; if the event does not meet its goals, that will be publicly reported; if the event report is not filled out, that organizer will not be able to receive funding again until it is completed.

Let’s talk about metrics for a second.

Currently, the only success metrics for an event in our program are:

  • number of people who attended
  • attendee survey
  • length of event
  • budget surplus/deficit
  • number of CoC violations = (0, we hope)
I think we can do better than that. In fact, I think we can do WAY better than that.

What if we identify some ways to measure the success of an official event, set some goals that correlate with budget size, and then ask organizing teams to tell us what kind of numbers they’re going for when they’re proposing an event? Then after the event is over, organizer(s) can fill out a little debrief form that will auto-populate a post on make/cmty or Central.

Transparency! Accountability! Measurable goals!

(insert swoon here)

Sounds good, but what will we measure?

The Wikimedia Foundation’s metrics are a pretty good start, but here’s my first stab at metrics for OUR different event types. These are all TOTALLY just guesses (well, except for the WordCamp one), but I think they would go a long way toward creating a comparable set of goals that we could use to take a critical look at where money is going, whether events are meeting their own goals, and then why/why not. Contributor Day/Event goals will definitely need an assist from the relevant contributor teams. 🙂

Event Type Metrics Financial support
WordCamp 50+ attendees
10+ volunteers
5+ speakers (2+ women, 2+ new)
7 videos posted to wptv
75% positive survey results
As needed, usually between $5,000-50,000
Meetup event number of attendees
number of new attendees
number of videos posted to wptv
As needed, usually about $5/attendee
Contributor Day number of new contributors
number of bug reports
number of patches submitted
number of videos captioned
number of Codex pages edited
number of support tickets answered
number of themes reviewed
As needed, usually about $10/attendee
Hackathons (like do_action) number of participants
number of organizations helped/sites created?
% positive survey results
As needed, usually about $10/attendee
Training number of teachers
number of students
number of videos posted to wptv
number of edits submitted to training repo
As needed, usually about $10/attendee, plus hosting accounts as needed
WCUS/WCEU Viewing Party number of attendees As needed, usually $50-300 per group

Thoughts, complaints, obvious blind spots? Am I thinking too big? Too small? Let’s discuss in the comments and in our Community Team chat, tomorrow!