Most nonprofit organizations depend on volunteers. And most volunteer organizations are asked how in the world they recruit and keep volunteers. While not every organization is the same, there are definitely some best practices that many open source software projects have discovered and evolved.
The keys to a successful volunteer organization include recognizing the leadership talents in others, helping people identify their passions, and enabling them to get things done while creating a strong sense of vision and direction. It also involves good organizational and cultural practices for recognizing contributions, making decisions, and even letting people move on. I’d like to share what I’ve learned about encouraging and growing other people’s passions and interests with examples from GNOME, Mozilla, and Kids on Computers.
Explore what motivates volunteers, and how successful organizations grow leaders, make decisions, and get things done. After the talk, I hope you’ll share your examples with me.
Stormy Peters is director of the Mozilla Developer Network. Stormy is passionate about open source software and educates companies and communities on how open source software is changing the software industry. She is a compelling speaker who engages her audiences during and after her presentations, and frequently speaks on business aspects of open source software.
In addition to Mozilla, Stormy is a founder and board member of Kids on Computers, a nonprofit organization setting up computer labs in developing countries. She also serves on the board of the Software Freedom Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that helps promote, improve, develop, and defend Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. Conservancy provides a non-profit home and infrastructure for FLOSS projects.
Stormy joined Mozilla from the GNOME Foundation where she served as executive director. Previously, she worked at OpenLogic where she set up their OpenLogic Expert Community, and Hewlett-Packard where she set up their Open Source Program Office. Stormy graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in Computer Science.
Avni Khatri is the Program Manager for the Knowledge and Learning Technologies Group in the Laboratory of Computer Science at Massachusetts General Hospital. She helps build medical informatics applications using open source software and hardware. Her interests include studying different learning methodologies and researching and implementing different technologies and modalities to deliver learning content.
She is also President of Kids on Computers, a 501©(3) non-profit that sets up computer labs in areas where kids have no other access to technology. The organization currently has 16 labs worldwide including 10 labs in Mexico.
Before coming to MGH, she worked at Yahoo! Inc. as a Senior Front-end Engineer on the Flex Force Tiger Team and was co-president of the Southern California chapter of Yahoo! Women in Tech.
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