We advertise LibreOffice contribution opportunities on several volunteer recruitment platforms.
List of volunteer platforms promoting LibreOffice opportunities
- VolunteerMatch (US-based, international)
- Idealist (US-based, international)
- Vapaaehtoistyö (Finland)
- Um sem um tam - requires clear definition of tasks (Czech Republic)
- Hero Clan - a single task with a single volunteer (Czech Republic)
- Zapojím se - company volunteering (Czech Republic)
- Dobrovolnik.cz (Czech Republic)
- Vostel (Germany)
- TuDu (Poland)
Presentations about volunteer platforms
- Recruiting is hard, let's go shopping (LibreOffice Conference 2019)
- Recruiting for LibreOffice through volunteer platforms (openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference 2020)
Best practices for onboarding new contributors
Much of this applies to all new contributors as our experiences with volunteer platforms reshaped our whole approach to onboarding and mentoring.
Respond to contacts as soon as possible. Remember that the person contacting you will usually contact several other organisations at the same time.
In your first message, propose to schedule an interview. Take time zones into account in a way that is crystal clear to the other person. When presented with a choice of text chat and audio call, people usually pick chat, so you might prefer to simply propose it exclusively as the first discussion medium.
At the end of the interview, schedule a follow-up discussion. This way, there is no need to spend a huge amount of time for the first discussion. The interviewee knows that by the time of the next discussion, they should have completed some work that will be reviewed. Promising to meet someone at a certain time is a strong motivator, because failure will cause inconvenience to the other person.
Have as many scheduled discussions as you feel necessary. You can clearly state in the discussions that the idea is to find the motivation and learn how to work independently. It is not enough to rely on the typical free software community spirit of ”scratching your own itch”. If you don't have this structured and scheduled path to starting, the newcomer will most likely end up doing nothing at all. All of this is proven by years of experimentation and experience.
Despite the clear and proven positive effects of scheduled discussions, they have the drawback that sometimes people simply fail to show up. Try to organise them in a way that a no-show will cause you the minimum amount of harm. Do not take these setbacks personally, but simply accept that people are random beings and try to navigate this randomness.
Sometimes your new contacts will ask you about signing documents. Remember that the name of The Document Foundation can only be signed by the president or the chairperson of the board of directors. You have to make clear the distinction between your personal signature and that of TDF. Agreeing to sign something creates a special kind of relationship. In this case, it is advisable to request the newcomer to complete a certain amount of tasks before promising to sign. Especially in the case of signing something in the starting phase, it is justified to then hold the person to higher standards of work output.
Students in the USA under an F-1 visa may not complete an Optional Practical Training employment period under TDF, because TDF does not have an office in the USA.