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PyCon 2011 Atlanta

March 9th–17th

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Get new contributors (and diversity) through outreach

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Novice / Talk
March 11th 11:05 a.m. – 11:35 a.m.
Groups like the Fedora Design Team, Dreamwidth, SF Ruby, and OpenHatch have discovered the power of outreach to bring in new contributors. In the past year, SF Ruby grew in numbers as well as in diversity, moving from 3% women to 18% women. Because most projects need ongoing help, this talk discusses effective strategies for bringing in contributors who stick around for the long haul.


This talk is targeted at anyone involved in an open source project who wants to find more contributors.

Programs like Google Summer of Code often provide excited students who disappear after a summer's work. Meanwhile, request for help emails on development lists are typically met with silence. Hackathons create a flurry of commits, but then we never hear from the participants again. Expanding your team is possible, and it requires care in terms of outreach, expectation management, and mentorship.

We will discuss three major forms of outreach:

  • One-on-one check-ins with participants,
  • Periodic drives to bring in new contributors, and
  • In-person teaching events.

Each one has "do"s and "don't"s associated with it. This talk digests the experience of effective outreach into practical strategies that you can re-use within your project.