Growing the community is the implicit goal of every Drupal meetup and event I attend. It's a constant topic of conversation at Drupal event organizing meetings, agency roundtables, and panels about recruitment and selling Drupal. Last year, I created a presentation for DrupalCamp Atlanta called "Growing the Drupal Community". Since then, it's been my hallway track conversation of choice, and everyone I talk to seems onboard with the goal of growing Drupal. As part of my role on the Drupal Association board, I'm chairing the Community & Governance Committee. We've been having lots of conversations about facilitating community growth, and I wanted to share some of what I've been thinking.

Our Target Audiences

By definition, if we want to grow Drupal, that means talking to people outside the Drupal-sphere. So who would we be targeting?  

  • Decision makers selecting a technology (Marketing/Communications and IT)
  • Developers and technologists curious about Drupal
  • Drupal users who aren't active in the community
  • Users who inherit a Drupal project
  • Agencies who are using Drupal for the first time
  • People looking to switch careers  

These are who I think of when I think of growing the community. It's important to remember that we're not just talking to developers or decision makers, but people from a wide range of backgrounds. The Drupal community is made up of designers, project managers, developers, translators, content and accessibility experts, and folks with other roles or who do Drupal as one of their many responsibilities.

One Step Closer to Engagement

Growing the Drupal community means bringing our audiences one step closer to participating in the community. That could mean different things for different people depending on what type of user they are and where they're at in their "Drupal Journey." Here are some tasks early on in this journey that we should make easier:

Try it Out

  • Install Drupal
  • Try out a demo
  • Watch a video about how Drupal works

First Contact

  • Attend a first Drupal event
  • Attend Global Training Days 
  • Make an account on Drupal.org and/or Drupal Slack
  • Talk to another Drupal user in the community
  • Join a Drupal user group on meetup.com 

Stay Informed

  • Join a mailing list to learn more about Drupal
  • Read a case study or download promo material
  • Watch a video from a Drupal event
  • Search for help on Drupal.org or Drupal StackExchange  

Later in the journey, we hope to take users beyond feeling like "Newbies." We want them to use Drupal successfully, become members of the Drupal Association, make contributions, and become Drupal ambassadors. But arguably, the steps above are more important for growing the community.

What does this mean for Drupal.org?

Drupal.org is the home of the Drupal project and it should help move users further along their journey to being part of the community. It's a big ask. Drupal.org is also a place for the existing community to communicate and collaborate, and it's a complex website with a lot of moving pieces.   

That being said, here are some key places we could focus on to build community engagement:  

  • Community page: At DrupalCon Amsterdam, I conducted a UX feedback session and collected some feedback about the Community page. One audience member said "I feel like this is structured in a way that people who are very familiar with the community would think about it, rather than from the point of view of someone who is new to the community." I think repositioning this page for newcomers and focusing on local events (camps, meetups, and local training days), joining the Drupal Slack, local associations, and getting started using Drupal would be a big improvement.
  • Groups.drupal.org is still a useful community organizing tool for some topics and groups, but many of its features have effectively been replaced by meetup.com, confusing many new users who stumble across abandoned groups on the website. When a user stumbles across a group, clearly pointing them to the place where they can find upcoming events and the most relevant content would be really helpful.
  • The Evaluator Guide is a valuable tool for developers trying out Drupal for the first time. I think adding in an evaluator guide for different audiences (especially decision makers) is essential to creating a smooth and welcoming onboarding experience.

How You Can Help

  • Spread the success stories of Drupal in your local communities and networks, especially to those outside the Drupal community. Post those stories on LinkedIn, attend events outside the Drupal-sphere. And look for ways to promote Drupal in outlets where non-Drupal folks hang out.
  • Volunteer with the Promote Drupal initiative 
  • Be active in your local Drupal community
  • Welcome newcomers on Slack, Drupal.org, and at the Drupal events you attend 
  • Look for opportunities to hire and train those outside the Drupal community  

Let me know your thoughts and what you think of the ideas above. I'd love to start a conversation.

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