Request for input on our "Coders with a Cause: Community Barn Raisings and Drupal for Good" session at GLADCamp 2014

christefano's picture

Hi everybody,

Lee Vodra and I (two of the founders of Droplabs, a Drupal-friendly coworking space in Los Angeles, and creators of the Coders with a Cause program) will be presenting on barn raisings and "Drupal for Good" in action at the Non-Profit Drupal Summit at GLADCamp next month.

This is just one session among many at the non-profit summit, but it's on a topic that's very close to my heart. I'd like for this presentation to cover as much as possible within its allotted time and I'm requesting input, ideas, questions and even answers from everyone to make the session the best it can be.

Here are some of my questions to you:

  • Have you taken part in a "barn raising" event in your community? If so, what were the high points for you?
  • Just as important, what were your low points and why? Be as specific as you'd like. There's no need to name names (unless it's your own!)
  • If you haven't had a barn raising for your organization yet, what are the greatest challenges you see preventing you and your organization from doing one?

Here's the description from our session page at  

In this presentation, we will introduce the "barn raising" concept and how our Coders with a Cause program has adapted it for website development to benefit non-profits and for-good startups in Los Angeles, California.

We'd love to see more groups produce barn raising events and we will detail our recipe and recommendations for how to run this style of "code sprint" and harness the technical skills and good will of the Drupal and open source communities for working with non-profits using Drupal.

At our barn raising events, a team of organizers and volunteers work together to build a website from scratch or develop new features to include much needed functionality, design, and other work required by the organization. Barn raisings are teach-and-learn opportunities for our local developer community and each event is a win-win-win for everyone.

Topics we will cover include:

  • What's a barn raising? Traditional definitions vs. today's digital world;
  • Giving senior developers opportunities to teach what they know and to become mentors and trainers in their community;
  • Teaching new developers and boosting everyone's professional career in web development and volunteerism;
  • How to overcome obstacles and identify challenges before they happen;
  • Incorporating web development best practices, including:
    • Requirements gathering from stakeholders;
    • Standups, sprint planning and other Agile development methodologies;
    • Version control and team-based collaboration;
    • Ticketing systems and documentation;
  • Creative ways that you might not expect for staying focused, organized and motivated;
  • … and having a great time during an intense 1- or 2-day event!

Lee Vodra and Christefano Reyes have organized dozens of barn raisings for non-profits including, TimeBanks USA, the Venice Skate Park and the Arroyo Seco Time Bank; and for-good community projects including,, the Southern California Linux Expo, and OTTO, a classroom management system.


Coding for a Cause

ultimike's picture

We've been holding annual "Coding for a Cause" events at Florida DrupalCamp for the past 3 or 4 years. Doing a one-day barn-raising tends to be a misnomer, unless the site that you're raising is really, really simple. The main issue that we run into each and every year is one of prep-work. We have found that in order to really get a site built in one day, we need to work with the organization for 3-4 weeks prior, helping them understand what we can provide in one day, collecting any assets they'd like on the site, writing content, and getting the right people in at the barn-raising who can make the decisions that need to be made.

It's a challenge - there's no doubt about it. We've struggled with it for years, trying to find the proper formula, and it boils down to finding 2-3 Coding for a Cause volunteers who are willing to spend some time with the organization before the day of the event. We now provide a "menu" of options that we're willing to build into the site, as well as a choice of several themes that we're willing to customize as time permits on the day of the event.

Finally, we often ask for volunteers who are willing to also put in time after the event to ensure that the organization is trained on using the site, and as a contact for additional questions and (potentially paid) requests.


CfC Across Camps?

willyk's picture

I'm one of the organizers of NYC Camp. We've struggled with similar Coding for a Cause (CfC) issues at our camps in past. One thing that I'd suggest, is that we try to setup CfC teams and process that works across camps. Drupal is increasingly best suited for doing large projects, which are tough to complete in a day. Likewise, the needs of non-profits are also getting more complex, as they needs to span social media and fundraising/team-building move online. Perhaps we could aim to complete one barnraising per quarter, with CfC teams participating from different camps every week or two across the quarter all in support of one CfC project? It's also work mentioned that we've been trying to get momentum behind a similar approach relating to some of the community initiatives that we've launched, including and Drupal the Next Generation ( and

Thanks for sharing all these

christefano's picture

Thanks for sharing all these ideas, willyk! Having a shared (if not common) process for these coding for a cause / coders with a cause events has a big thumbs up from me.

My session at Saturday's non-profit summit on these barn raisings we do was recorded and I'll post a link to the video as soon as I know when and where it's going to be posted.

Do you know where the codebase is for DrupalTV? We ended up spinning up our own codebase for the non-profit at Sunday's website barn raising and are prepping a public release at but there's always a chance to combine efforts in the future.

Also, where do the sponsorship funds for DrupalNG go to? Is DrupalNG running as an autonomous project now that NYC Camp is over?

Large Robot
Founder, CEO  
Founder, Lead Burrito Analyst  
Greater Los Angeles Drupal
Organizer, Drupal Adventure Guide  

DrupalTV Sandbox Project

joe_pixelrow's picture

Here is a DrupalTV Project I came across but not sure if it is the codebase for the website.
There is no code there now.

Thanks, Joe. I found a

christefano's picture

Thanks, Joe. I found a similar sandbox project at

What is running on? If there's a base installation profile, I'd possibly be interested in developing Features for it instead of creating a new installation profile from scratch.

Large Robot
Founder, CEO  
Founder, Lead Burrito Analyst  
Greater Los Angeles Drupal
Organizer, Drupal Adventure Guide  

WRT each of the questions

willyk's picture

WRT each of the questions raised:

  1. DrupalTV: This project is quite different from the openvideo project above. As noted in the sandbox, this is a Drupal specific project intended to deliver a solution similar to With that in mind, not sure if you guys are still interested. However, I'll add the code from to the sandbox today. Although we've gotten help adding some of the videos, so far I've done all of the development myself. As such, it hasn't been pretty, as I've simply been focused on getting the site up and the ball rolling. I'll also share the roadmap that I've today and share the roadmap for the project as well. IMO, he more hands we can get involved to help lead and collaborate on this effort the better. I've also discussed the project with Dries, and he's keen to see it get some more steam, and we'll be switching over to his domain

  2. DrupalNG; Further to the BoF we held at BADCamp, and the recent podcast, we've been continuing to work on DrupalNG. For more see:,, and

  3. Coding for a Cause: We've been mobilizing our efforts for Coding for a Cause project at NYC Camp this year. We're trying to get some coordination and collaboration going with the other events occurring the same weekend as NYC Camp -- see: We're also going to aim to carry on the same Coding for a Cause projects throughout the year at Drupal Con Austin, Drupal Amsterdam, BADCamp and other camps throughout the year that want to participate.


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