Open Outreach: how to help make it happen

"We think Open Outreach on Pantheon is an incredibly powerful tool for site builders and web-savvy nonprofit staff and a great place to begin for those new to Drupal." - Andrew Ward, East Bay Development

At Chocolate Lily we've been working on Open Outreach for the past two years basically because we believe the best online tools should be accessible to all. And we're getting somewhere. This month the number of Open Outreach sites topped 350. Having Open Outreach hosted on Pantheon means groups can try Open Outreach for free. With the basics in place we're starting to dig into more activist focused pieces like a RedHen-based CRM and community mapping tools. For a two person shop (plus our son who we've hired on part time over the summer), it's not a bad start.

But we need a lot of help to take it further. To turn Open Outreach from a fine idea into a tool that's really making a difference in bringing down the barriers and tooling up movements for change, we need you.

There's a ton of ways that any Drupal site builder or shop can get involved and help turn Open Outreach into a community project and the NGO tool of choice for online advocacy and engagement. Here's a few:

  • Use Open Outreach for your pro bono work. See Andrew Ward's writeup of how his shop built a client site on Open Outreach in a single work day.
  • In your next nonprofit site build, consider using Open Outreach. Will it do everything you'd want? Nope. But it could be a great kickstart that saves both you and your client a lot of initial development time and expense.
  • Talk up Open Outreach in your local Drupal or nonprofit meetup or host an Open Outreach training in your community. We're finding an Open Outreach intro a great way to make Drupal accessible to new users. If you schedule it, we'll do our best to be available by voice or video to help out.
  • Test drive a draft Debut app. We and others are always working on new apps to add to Open Outreach. You can find them in the list of candidate Debut features. Try one out and post your review or improvements.
  • Contribute written documentation or screencasts. We've made a start at user documentation and screencasts but there's lots of room for improvement.
  • Contribute translations. We get a growing number of requests for Open Outreach translations to other languages. We're targetting Spanish as our first non-English language. But whether you build sites in Spanish or Portuguese or Esperanto, we'd love your help getting translations in place.
  • Let us know about good hosting options. We're excited to have Open Outreach hosted on Pantheon and other hosts but affordable hosting remains a key barrier to low-resourced organizations. We particularly need more options with point and click installation like Aegir. If you work with or know of a good host we should be talking to, please let us know.
  • Blog about your Open Outreach site builds. If you're building sites with Open Outreach, please take time to share your tips and tricks.
  • Bring your design expertise. Please. We've been pretty focused on functionality, pretty loose on design. That's not all bad--it means site builders using Open Outreach have a pretty clean slate. But we could use a lot more design flair, whether as enhancements to existing features or, say, Open Outreach themes.
  • Develop new apps for Open Outreach. If you're building out new functionality, consider doing it as an Open Outreach compatible app. We'll be happy to give you guidance and review along the way. See the Debut documentation for detailed pointers.
  • Get the word out about Open Outreach in your networks. So far our profile has been pretty low outside the core Drupal scene (and even within it!). If you use Twitter, you can follow @OpenOutreach and tweet about your Open Outreach work to your network.
  • Present at camps and conferences. We don't get around much. Okay, personally, I have to admit the last DrupalCon I went to was in Boston, and that's going back a ways. If you want to make a Drupal camp presentation, we'll be happy to help out with prep and presentation materials.
  • Do a site building sprint for local groups using Open Outreach. This can be a great way of bringing Drupal folks together or as a project of a local meetup.
  • Partner with us. Have a project that fits well with Open Outreach but need some help? We're always looking to partner with other Drupal shops.

Comment here or contact us to get rolling!



This is great

The "Drupal for Good" community has been talking about standardizing around a single distribution like this for a long time.

Kudos to Chocolate Lily for putting in the time (significant time!) to build a well thought-out solution!