I am involved in a non-profit organization that organizes many events throughout the year. Since these events are organized by many different people, it is rarely the case that a event is announced properly over all appropriate channels.

So lets imagine a person, lets call him Mozart, wants to give a concert.

  • Flyers and posters have to be designed, printed and distributed in local shops.
  • The event should be announced on the website and possibly over social media.
  • Volunteers are required for this event, so all potential volunteers should be informed.
  • The local newspaper should be informed.

However, Mozart is not able to conduct these steps himself, he prefers to make music instead. And while there are many volunteers that are willing to perform single tasks, no single person has the time to organize everything for every event.

It reminds me of the way issue trackers are used in open source projects: Everyone can post an issue without requiring knowledge about the internals. The members of the team are informed automatically and whoever wants to work on this issue, can assign it to himself.

I think a similar system can be useful in this scenario, but issue trackers are usually specifically designed to manage software bugs. Furthermore, one event should automatically generate a whole set of tasks.

It would be even better if some tasks can be executed automatically. For example, announcing the event at the website as soon as the necessary information (e.g. time and place) is provided. But this is not strictly required.

Do you have any ideas? I can also write extensions to existing software, but writing such a system from scratch seems to be overkill.

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    If your question was answered to your satisfaction, you can accept an answer by clicking on the check mark under the voting arrows. – Kodiologist Sep 1 '17 at 17:09
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    If you edit your post to describe what features of such a framework you require, over and above what is obtained by my suggestion—that is, what sort of manual work you want to save—perhaps you'll get a better answer. The only way I can see that my answer falls short of what you asked for is that it doesn't do any of the tasks automatically, but you said "this is not strictly required". – Kodiologist Sep 1 '17 at 20:25
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    @Mawg I am aware of these systems and use them a lot for software development, but they do not provide the described functionality. Of course, you could use these, but they are far from being convenient for my application. Developing a dedicated application is the only feasible option I see. – koalo Oct 4 '17 at 11:31
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    @Mawg Actually, I have already started coding a Django app and will eventually publish it. If I get the feedback, that my use case is not so unique as it seems, it would definitely motivate me to make it more generic. – koalo Oct 4 '17 at 11:46
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    @Mawg Thanks for your suggestions! I will probably struggle most with the user interface because I usually develop low level embedded software. – koalo Oct 4 '17 at 12:00

I use trello for nonprofits extensively. A new board (or list depending on complexity) can be created from scratch for each event, but it's better to create an event template board, which gathers all the available/current info. Then you can copy it for each iteration so you aren't re-inventing the wheel every time, invite a different batch of volunteers to it, keep track of progress, and if it comes up transfer new info to your template so you have the best beginning next time too. You can do this with any number of event types, ie you can have a template for concerts, one for fundraising events, one for picnics or market booths etc. In fact there are many publicly available trello boards you can copy for specific types of events, as a start.

If you have the kind of volunteer that is refractory to technology (and who doesn't?), you can still keep track of their progress in trello yourself as you go, so you know what's going on. If you have group progress meetings, I've found it very motivating to project the trello board live from your laptop/phone, and update it as people speak. Or better yet do it as a virtual conference and share your screen. It serves as a very good trello training/demo, since they see you working with it, while keeping everyone on the same page very efficiently about how the project is going.

And of course you should start by creating an organization you can invite people to, separate from your own self or any other nonprofits you're working with. And attach people as needed, and show them how to control notifications so they don't feel overwhelmed by what everyone else is doing. The more tech-savvy ones will enjoy the 24h online access, and phone updates. Piece of cake :-).


It sounds like the simplest thing that would work for your situation is an online collaboratively edited text document. For this you could use a third-party website such as Google Docs, Collabedit, or GitHub, or host the document on your own server with software such as Git. (Just scping or rsyncing text files is even simpler, but it will lead to grief in the case of edit conflicts, which seem likely.) In the document, make a to-do list, and have people write their name to show they're going to work on it and check a box when they're done.

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