Before we get into the details, let’s have a look at the bigger picture of organizing a Django Girls event.
If you’ve never organized a workshop before, or if you have but would like a quick reference, this section includes a timeline-view of the typical tasks that you would do as an organizer.
Here are some questions that you might ask yourself or your team before you launch into the fun journey of workshop organizing.
You should start organizing at least 3 months before the event will take place. It gives you a safe amount of time to make sure everything runs smoothly. Of course, the actual amount of work could be fitted into 40-50 hours of total work, so if you spread that over a 3 month period, you can totally do it in your free time.
Organizing an event with a team is awesome but not mandatory. Don’t forget to set a few rules on how you’ll work together to avoid misunderstanding.
If you’re working with a team, we strongly recommend you to read this awesome blog post made by Django Girls Budapest team. It’s full of precious tips to keep your group organized.
We’ve created a Trello board that you can clone; hopefully this will help you keep track of everything you need to take care of while planning your event! To use the Trello board, follow these instructions:
- Click “Show Menu” on the right-hand side
- Under the Menu, click “More”
- Select “Copy Board” and give your board a title. We suggest, “Django Girls [Your City].” Change the organization to “none.” Click “Create.”
- You’re now on your board! You can invite your other organizers, add notes to existing cards, add cards specific to your event, and start using your board!
Take a look at Getting Started with Trello if you’re not familiar with this project management tool.
Let’s see how organizing a Django Girls event looks on the timeline:
- Review and accept the environment guidelines and Code of Conduct. This is critical to make sure that everyone involved feels safe and welcome before, during, and after the workshop.
- Review the Organizer FAQ to help optimize the organization process and get you prepared.
- Review the accessibility information. This includes Website compliance, venue requirements, and other resources you might need to accommodate accessibility needs of your attendees.
- Apply to the Django Girls organization to register your event by filling out this form.
- Adapt the Website template that you receive from the support team for your event and launch it. The Website template includes placeholders for information about the venue, application process, coaches, sponsors, and FAQ for applicants.
- Review and download the resources you might want to use. We have some cool design resources, like Web and print logos, shirt designs, poster templates, and other goodies that you can use in your decorations.
- Create a budget for the workshop. The budget should be divided to “must-have” costs and “nice-to-have” extra items. Don’t worry about raising a lot of money, normally you do not need a big budget, as long as your team of coaches and supporters provide a friendly and fun atmosphere. You can also DIY a lot of the logistics if you don’t feel comfortable handling large amounts of money or depend on sponsorships. Get creative!
- Start promoting the workshop on social media, in the press, or in person. You can create a social media account, group, or page.
- Start looking for sponsors. Typical sponsors can include IT companies, universities, and local businesses in your city. You don’t need a lot of starting funds to run a workshop, but having financial support can help you provide financial aid for applicants who are not able to travel to your workshop, as well as purchase goodies like shirts for coaches, decorations, and other extra-special treats for a fun day!
- Start looking for a venue. If you are organizing a local workshop, you might reach out to a local IT company or educational facility, who normally are happy to host our workshops. You can also co-locate the workshop with a conference, which can help share the logistics work with the conference organizers and give the participants an opportunity to interact with a relevant open-source community.
- Start looking for coaches. Coaches can be local Python or Django folks, graduates of previous Django Girls workshops, organizers, and so on. You can reach out to local Python or Django user groups or meetups, or even post a request on our Slack in the #organizers channel.
- Launch the application process for attendees. You’ll want to keep the application open for at least 1 month, and the selection process usually takes 1-2 weeks. Of course you can launch this at the same time that you announce the Website!
- After you launch the application process, order a Workshop Box. This nifty little starter kit includes stickers, balloon letters, buttons, name tags, and other goodies, so that you don’t have to produce them yourself.
- Finalize the list of coaches. Generally, a 3:1 ratio of attendee/coach is recommended. So for example, if your workshop has a maximum capacity of 30 attendees, you’ll want to recruit at least 10 coaches, with 1 meta-coach to help and support the coach team.
- Finalize and announce the venue. Normally, the venue will be sponsored, so you can combine a sponsor welcome announcement with the venue announcement. Make sure to update the Website with the venue information.
- Start looking for catering. If the venue doesn’t provide you with catering, you might want to reach out to local restaurants, cafes, bakeries, to pre-order lunch, snacks, drinks, and so on.
- Continue to look for sponsors. You can consult with your coaches for suggestions on which sponsors they can connect you with, post a request on Slack, or use social media to increase the search range.
- Order swag. Besides the Workshop Box, if you have the budget you can order shirts for coaches, notebooks, tote bags, or maybe print some posters. The resources repository on GitHub should have everything you need.
- Find a photographer. A nice-to-have, if you have friends or volunteers who can document the workshop day, it can be a really nice souvenir and you can add pictures to the Django Girls Flickr stream or use them in blog posts.
- Announce your coaches on your website, on social media, and in other promotion channels as you wish.
- Close the application process and select attendees. We recommend recruiting a selection panel of at least 3-4 people who can vote and discuss this, especially in cases where financial aid is involved.
- Inform applicants of the result. You’ll want to give the selected applicants a few days to confirm their attendance, and we also recommend that you have a few waiting-list candidates in case of cancellations.
- Make sure attendees confirmed their attendance. Don’t worry if some applicants don’t respond by the time that you set, simply move on to the next person on the waiting list.
- Verify that all the logistics are figured out.
- Reach out to potential guest speakers. Often, the workshop attendees come from different walks of life and aren’t familiar with many aspects of open-source communities.
- After you receive confirmations from all attendees, assign coaches to their groups and make sure the coaches review the Coach’s manual and the Tutorial.
- Send an email to your coaches so they can meet their group. If you can’t do the installation party the evening before the event, invite your coach to do it online with their group following those instructions. It’s really important that attendees’ computers are ready for the workshop!
- Schedule a coach dinner-meeting the evening before the workshop. This is especially important to be done in advance if you are co-locating the workshop with a conference, since many coaches will need to plan their travel to the workshop in advance.
- Post the schedule on your Website. You can use the example schedule template to get an estimate of how much time you’ll need for each part of the day. You can also add a page to your Website with orientation details, such as venue directions, detailed schedule, and other useful information for attendees.
- Confirm with attendees one last time that they are still planning to attend the event! Make some last minute replacements if someone cancels. At this point you should send the workshop information to your attendees, including links to the tutorial and orientation details.
- Make sure that you received any sponsorship funds you needed to receive and that you processed financial aid if needed. Usually the attendees will need to handle their own travel arrangements and submit receipts, but this depends on how you handle financial tasks or whether you utilize a local organization to help you process funds.
- If you can, go to the workshop venue and set up decorations and furniture. Feel free to ask for volunteer help on this, you don’t have to do it alone!
- Meet your coaches and get some updates on the progress and state of their groups. This is a good opportunity for the coaches to get to know each other, ask questions, and get help.
- Send a list of additional resources to your graduates. Depending on your location, you might want to recommend local Python or Django user groups, meetups, or other organizations such as PyLadies where your graduates can continue learning. You can find email templates for this in the resources GitHub repository.
- Send a thank-you to the coaches, sponsors, guest presenters, etc. You can add links to photos or videos from the workshop day if you already have them.
- Invite the graduates to join Slack, mailing list, or other social platforms where they can keep in touch or ask follow-up questions.
- Write to the global Django Girls and let us know how it went! Here are some ideas.
- Be proud of yourself! <3
All of this is further explained in the chapters on the left, but this is the bigger picture.