Over the last year our team (Participation), worked on several types of events with communities, this trend started on the last quarter of 2015 with the organisation of volunteers presence at key Mozilla events like Mozfest, and All Hands (Orlando in December that year). On 2016 we started working and developing new ways of work and align communities so we’ve started the year with the Leadership Summit in Singapore, an event that gathers 130 volunteers from all over the world to connect and sync with the latest Mozilla goals and initiatives.
To sync and explain those goals become very important over the last years after some changes and the new ongoing projects in Mozilla. It helps communities to understand where are we heading, and why we are focusing on some initiatives over others.
So starting on last May we initiated the Community Gatherings, focusing on communities where we think we are relevant and where we want to share more information. The first one was in Brazil, where our community had some struggles to organise and work together as a team. We approach that meetup trying to test new things, including new content on the agenda (focusing on community guidelines), and taking the lead on the logistics side. The goal was not only to align them with Mozilla goals, but also to smooth the rough edges within the community. There was a focus on how the Community Guidelines should apply in case of conflict and how to share feedback in a more constructive way.
The second gathering in India (August), was organised mainly by the community, to restructure and think their community and sub-communities. India is our largest volunteer community by far, and there are a some posts shared by the community that can throw more light about the outcome of that first gathering. In this event our team acted more as a consultant, helping with some content, although there was some staff presence like George Roter, Konstantina Papadeas and Rina Jensen.
On the last semester we had 3 gatherings, where we organised in a more structured way the content and the logistics. European gathering (in Berlin, September), Arabic (Casablanca, October), and Mexico (Mexico City, November). We tried not only to have a consistent message, but also a consistent way to organise those events, with better documentation, we found out that we could use these learnings to systematise and create a series of documents to help communities organise their own events/gatherings, perhaps on a different budget approach, but with the same basis for content and logistics.
The outcome of those three gatherings was pretty positive, since we discover new skills in our communities (Arabic proved to be very interested on initiatives like Rust, while European showed more connection with privacy concerns), or we could re-engage members that we thought were dormant (like in Mexico). Aside all this we gave an important role to the Guidelines and the diversity in our communities.
While Guillermo and Emma were focused more on the content, giving some consistency and coherency with what we wanted to achieve for our communities, I was involved in the logistics part, which can be consider more easy to automatise, since content can vary from event to event, but logistics usually remains the same.
Those learnings are now accessible for all our communities, open to hack/fork/feedback. The learnings from the 5 events can be found in the playbooks we’ve created, with some tips and tricks. The events proved to be a good way to connect with Communities, sense the temperature, and revitalise communities with the simple fact of having a couple of staff leading the event.