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Sprinting for the Nonprofit Starter Pack

By September 11, 2015

By: Brad Struss, Bigger Boat Consulting founder and Principal

On October 22nd and 23rd the next Nonprofit Starter Pack Community Sprint is happening in Seattle. It’s a chance to work with a diverse set of community members and staff to make the open source Nonprofit Starter Pack even better. For those who have participated before, I don’t need to tell you how fun and rewarding these events are. For everyone else, here’s what you need to know to help decide if and how you participate.

What’s a sprint? How do they work?

A sprint brings together a group of committed individuals for a period of time (two days in this case) to work on enhancements (features, documentations, etc) to the Nonprofit Starter Pack.

Some sprints have themes (more on the theme of this sprint below) and some are wide open. Either way, a few weeks before the sprint there will be online discussions to determine the specific topics to be tackled during the sprint. On the first day of the sprint, the day is kicked off by the sprint facilitator. The facilitator works with the group to finalize the topics. Participants then join with others to choose the topics they are most interested in working on. The teams then get to work on tackling the particular topics. There are periodic whole group check-ins throughout the two days so that people can hear the progress teams are making and, as needed, get feedback from others.

At the end of the sprint the goal is to have specific deliverables to add to the Nonprofit Starter Pack. In a few cases, teams may decide to continue working together remotely after the sprint to finish additional projects.

Who can join?

Anyone with a passion for helping make the Nonprofit Starter Pack better. There are plenty of projects for everyone – from developers and advanced admins to accidental admins and super users. Diverse attendees help provide perspective and keeps the focus on what makes the NPSP better for nonprofits. There are many ways participants can help, including writing documentation, helping to test new features, and providing feedback on how features will affect nonprofit organizations.

What’s been done at past sprints?

NPSP SprintIf you talk to anyone “in the know” about the history of the Nonprofit Starter Pack, they’re sure to mention at least one sprint. In fact, today’s Nonprofit Starter Pack got started through such a get together back in 2007.

Since then, an impressive and diverse list of things have been accomplished during past sprints, including new standard reports, bulk data entry, the relationship viewer, enhanced documentation, the Nonprofit Starter Pack contributor tool, and even some of the original concepts for the Power of Us Hub.

What’s the theme of this sprint?

The sprint will be focused on improving the upgrade process from NPSP v2 to NPSP v3. This will include organizations who want to keep their existing account model and ones who want to move to the new Household account model. While there are solid tools already available, we want to make them even better to get as many organizations upgraded to v3 as possible. This will allow more orgs to take advantage of the new features and bug fixes as well as get more orgs on a common platform to make support and 3rd party app compatibility easier.

Why should I join?

  • Make the Nonprofit Starter Pack better by contributing your skills, energy, feedback, and ideas. You will be an active participant in the evolution of the Nonprofit Starter Pack. This means a better product for all users, including you!
  • Build your skills. With a roomful of smart and committed people, you are sure to learn useful things to bring back to your team.
  • Have fun. While we’ll be working hard, there will plenty of social time and a couple of happy hours.
  • Deepen your connections with other like minded community members. Get to know some of those folks you only know from their Hub profile pictures and have a chance to work side by side with the Nonprofit Starter Pack team.

I can’t make it to Seattle, how can I participate?

There will be options for remote participants who want to join in the fun. The DC sprint in January had many remote attendees who actively participated. More details on this will be coming soon.

Make your mark. Give back to the Nonprofit Starter Pack community. Sign up now to participate. We hope to see you there.

About the Author
Brad StrussBigger Boat Consulting founder Brad Struss has a passion for empowering organizations to break down data silos and help them take control of their data. He brings more than two decades of technology leadership experience from companies such as Microsoft, Judy’s Book, and NPower Northwest. In 2014 he was recognized as a Salesforce MVP. He stays active in the community as a Partner in Social Venture Partners Seattle and was a founding board member of Summer Search Seattle. He co-leads the Seattle Salesforce Nonprofit User Group and is a Salesforce Certified Developer. Brad has been a speaker on effective nonprofit data management at UW DRIVE, the Social Venture Partners International Conference, and the UW Fundraising Management Program.