7.4. Documenting & Reporting
Plan to capture and share the community-building, learning, and work that goes on at face-to-face events supporting your project.
Preparation and planning for documentation around your event
Plans for a face-to-face event you can use to think through documenting and reporting its outcomes
Documentation tools and an open place (like a blog) to share your reports
- Planning Your Documentation and Reporting
- Examples of Event Reporting
- Assignment: Draft a Documentation Checklist on GitHub
- Assignment: Document Your Event
- Assignment: Write up Your Report and Share
Planning Your Documentation and Reporting
To help yourself and your community benefit and learn from everything that goes on at a face-to-face (F2F) event, it’s important to capture key parts of the event and report on the work done there.
Documenting and Reporting, Caro Alvarez
Part of working open is making sure that everyone who wants to contribute to your project or comment on it can do so. By showing others what happens at your events, you help people who can’t attend stay involved the work done there.
If you can find a contributor willing to help, it’s great to delegate documentation and reporting responsibilities while you facilitate an event. You should have a plan worked out with that contributor ahead of time to make sure you collect the kind of information and media you want to share afterwards.
- Who will record what happens at the event?
- Which parts of the event are essential to capture?
- What technologies make the most sense for reporting to your community?
Ahead of your event, decide on who will collect and share the stories and artifacts you’re looking for. Think about what kinds of notes and recordings they should take throughout the training. To report to the widest and most diverse audience possible after your event, it’s a good idea to use several different kinds of media for gathering information and reporting.
- You can take typed or written notes, or even photograph or sketch events, for a recap blog post or newsletter article.
- You can capture photos and videos of hands-on, participatory events to show how work was done at the event.
- You can record brief interviews to embed in your report or to edit into a podcast about the event.
- You can share a hashtag or social media channel ahead of the event and post it throughout your venue to encourage backchannel communication and chatting between onsite and remote attendees. Then, after the event, you can collect and share those conversations with a service like Storify.
Keep participants’ privacy choices in mind as you record or take photos at events. Make sure attendees know how to opt out of being photographed or otherwise recorded and include those steps in your code of conduct for the event. Many events offer different colored name-tags or wristbands, and the different colors represent different privacy choices.
For example, a youth attendee might have a blue lanyard indicating you need to get parental permission before photographing them. Attendees who do not want to be photographed at all might have an orange lanyard instead.
Finally, as you capture individual and group contributions to share, be sure to ask your contributors how they would like their work attributed in your report.
Tips for event documentation and reporting:
Before the event: Create a plan for documenting what goes on at your face-to-face event. Then assemble the people and stuff you need to record what happens at the event.
During the event: Take notes and collect data! Keep an eye out for stories, projects, or other data points to share. Document those things. You shouldn’t try to hold everything in your head until after the event. Also you don’t want to have to rely on your memory.
After the event: Share what happened at your event with onsite and remote participants through a blog post, community call, newsletter, or other open platform.
Examples of Event Reporting
Great event reports
- Contain clear calls to action to get involved with the project.
- Respect the privacy of attendees.
- Clearly articulate the goals and outcomes of covered events.
Here’s an example of event reporting from digital literacy work in Kenya.
Here’s another example of an event report from a web literacy training for educators in the United States.
Notice how each report explains the purpose of each event and summarizes it with images, text, and other media.
The Mozilla Clubs network also offers this tool for event reporting.
Think through your documentation and reporting plan and make sure you collaborate on it with your delegate beforehand. Work through these questions, but also add anything specific you want to track that’s not covered in the list.
- How can you summarize the event for people who cannot attend?
- How can you surface and share the essential work done there that shapes your project going forward?
- How can you use your event report as an invitation to contribute to the next phase of your project?
Your reports are also a great way to share the story of your project with a wider audience online. Resources like this solutions journalism toolkit from the Pulitzer Center can help you ask and answer questions that surface the importance and impact of your community’s work for others.
Assignment: Draft a Documentation Checklist on GitHub
Add an issue to your project or event-planning folder and outline your plan for recording your event. Be sure to indicate who will do what and include items or steps that remind you to account for attendees’ privacy choices and attribution preferences. Invite your entire community to offer suggestions about what’s most important to capture during the convening.
For example, drawing from Leslie Hawthorn’s “How To: Writing an Excellent Post-Event Wrap Up Report,” you might assign yourself or others to gather
- High quality photos from around the event. [Assignee’s name]
- High quality audio or video interviews and snippets from around the event. [Assignee’s name]
- Any session audio or video your record. [Assignee’s name]
- Social media updates from the event, including relevant usernames and hashtags. [Assignee’s name]
- Key graphics from speakers presentations. [Assignee’s name].
- Blog posts that others write after a session or after the event. [Assignee’s name]
As a checklist in GitHub, your list might look more like this:
Assignment: Document Your Event
Whether you document the event or delegate documentation to a volunteer, make sure to complete each step in your plan and capture the essential parts of the gathering.
Assignment: Write up Your Report and Share
After your event, gather together all of your documentation and shape it into one report or several. You might:
- Write-up a recap blog post and also send that copy out in your next project newsletter.
- Edit and post a video or podcast as standalone reports or as multimedia pieces to embed in a blog post or newsletter.
- Schedule a community call with a few guests who attended the event and a few who did not to talk about what happened.
Remember that community calls are regularly scheduled phone calls, webcasts, or hangouts that any community member can listen to, watch, and otherwise participate in live. Generally each call follows an agenda shared ahead of time that includes times for call organizers and project contributors to share updates, as well as time for less involved participants to ask questions about what’s been going on in the project. The agenda is typically published as a shared document so call organizers and participants can take notes during the call.
Share your report - or reports - as widely as possible in your project community and use it as a call to action for next steps in the your project. Invite your community members to share their own recaps, questions, and suggestions for next steps, as well.next: Open Project Maintenance