Outreachy post 5 - Final report

This is my last Outreachy blogpost, as my internship unfortunately has come to an end. It was a blast!

Through the Outreachy internship I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and even though I dont know what the future will bring, I am more confident about myself, my skills in fundraising and my technical abilities now.

During the contribution phase I did quite a lot of research so I could come up with relevant information to add on the Debian wiki as part of the contribution phase tasks. This was helpful for me to build a more deep understanding of the Debian project, the DebConf conferences and the general style of working within Debian.

During this phase I completed most of the tasks given and got onto the mailing lists and IRC channels which are public. This was quite an intense experience by itself as it was like digging into a new job but in a competitive situation as other applicants, of course, were also putting in their best to get one of the 50 Outreachy internships (two in Debian) that were available.

When I got selected I also got access to the sponsors@debconf.org email address and the private git repos as they would be needed for me to work on fundraising. I was also provided with an @debconf.org email address that is the one I use for sponsors’ communication. I learned what makes communication look professional and how to think of the recipient when formulating emails, sending replies or creating marketing messages.

As the internship continued I started to learn how the DebConf organizing structure works, with a particular attention on the fundraising team. I have also quickly been given the responsibility to reach out to 100 potential sponsors and combine learning and working experience very nicely.

I was given responsibility of working on the fundraising material (flyer and brochure) for DebConf20, so using LaTeX I updated the files in order to remove the translation system, I added the Israeli currency and the visual design chosen from a public logo proposal contest that is held for each DebConf. My creative side could also be put to good use as the team trusted me with selecting the images for the brochure and making sure that the usage rights granted and attribution are all compliant to Free Software/Creative Commons licences.

I have continuously maintained those materials and was very happy that long term team members even asked me to approve changes they proposed on the fundraising material. The MiniDebConf team for Regensburg have taken the files I created and made them into their fundraising material (brochure, flyer) which is great to see.

MiniDebConf Regensburg commits

I have profited so much from other people’s work, so I am very happy if community members can build on mine. Afterall sharing is caring!

Through the Outreachy travel stipend I was able to attend FOSDEM 2020 and besides meeting many friends from the community and having a fundraising meeting with a sponsor, I was able to also support distributing the DebConf20 fundraising material both in electronic form and as printed versions.

During the Outreachy internship I did two communication waves to potential sponsors and maintained the daily communication with them. I followed the documentation that was already available in the Debian wiki guiding me through the process of invoicing sponsors through the organizations that Debian collaborates with.

As I have been in frequent contact with the sponsors, I have continuously updated the DebConf20 website with sponsor logos and links through git files, improving web pages on the wafer system and doing 18 merge requests in total.

DebConf20 website merge requests

I completed six email templates for the DebConf sponsor communication campaigns. While two of them have already been very useful, I hope my other proposals will be the ones used for the next waves of sponsors contacting.

I committed them to the sponsors git repo so they can be easily accessible and well documented for other DebConf teams or can be recycled for smaller Debian events.

Unfortunately, due to the insecurity about travel around the Corona virus pandemic, the third wave of communication, originally scheduled for the end of my internship in March, has been held. I have committed to the team to do this once the travel restrictions have been lifted and we know that DebConf20 can proceed as planned for August 2020.

So yeah, I am definitely going to stay around and continue to help with DebConf fundraising!

DebConf has been held for two decades and it also has a generic website, so I also updated the static sponsors page on the main website as it is the first landing page for everyone especially for people who are not necessarily insiders in Debian or DebConf.

I have completed a Python tutorial, got the general understanding of the programming language and made some smaller contributions to improve existing tools in the fundraising team based on the learning.

The internship was also focused on documentation, so during the whole internship I have kept notes in order to be able to improve existing documentation and I have also written new material, especially on the tasks that I have been working on more closely:

Every DebConf has a new team every year, in a new country, so I hope this documentation I have worked on will be useful as a jump-starter for them to organize and finance their events.

I would like to take a moment to thank again my mentors Daniel and Karina for all their support, it has been great working with them. Having them as an example, I have learned a lot. Also warm thanks to the DebConf global and local teams which have been very welcoming and always supportive during my internship.

So, as you might already know, if you have read my other Outreachy blog posts, this has been a great experience for me! Outreachy provides an awesome opportunity that would not be available if it was not for the generous sponsors and volunteers making such a program for people from underrepresented groups in the FLOSS community.

I really encourage people from these groups to find the confidence within themselves and apply for Outreachy!

I love Debian

Tags: outreachy, debian