Creating Project Sheets for Volunteers

This step is similar to how you might track your organizations core tech issues, but speaks more to how projects are communicated overall. Volunteers want to be able to understand and work on your technical problem without having to do loads of research about it independently. In fact, in many cases, volunteers won’t even start working on your technical needs until they’re bought into the story and description of your project.

Project sheets serve as 1 or 2 page documents answering all the basic questions a volunteer would have before they decide to commit code to your project. Thus, you should do your best to provide clear tasks with specific deliverables for each part of your project so that anyone coming in without clear domain-knowledge can understand the content.

Here is simple template that you can follow to describe and provide information to your volunteer developers. This template can also be used to show potential corporate partners what types of volunteer projects are available.

Project Sheet Example

Organization Category: Human Rights
Organization Name: Benetech Martus
About Us: Benetech’s Martus technology allows human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and other social justice users anywhere in the world to securely gather information about human rights violations. The Martus suite of tools allow users to send crucial data from the field—text, photographs, audio and video— and the data is automatically encrypted locally, and on the servers, so it is protected in case the device is lost, stolen or confiscated.
Project Name: Server AMIs and Containers

Machine Image): Providing an option for groups who want to run their own secure Martus servers to make it easy for them to setup themselves (it is now incredibly onerous and pretty much requires help from Benetech for any of our field partners).

An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) provides the information required to launch an instance, which is a virtual server in the cloud. You specify an AMI when you launch an instance, and you can launch as many instances from the AMI as you need. You can also launch instances from as many different AMIs as you need.

Time Estimation: 20 – 30 Hours per project
Skills Needed: Linux System Admin, Security Focus, Amazon Web Services, Container Architecture
Number of Volunteers Requested 3 - 5
Some specific tasks that we will be working on:
  • Get the Martus server codebase packaged into a deployable container
  • Package the container into an Amazon Machine Image for deployment by partners on AWS
  • Successfully launch a new AWS-based Martus container and test basic Martus functionality connected to this server
  • Create documentation of instructions to launch AWS-based server
Important Links:

It can also help to have a video describing your project. See this example:

Next Step: