Every community - not governments, legislations, etc - knows best what it needs. As institutions fail around the world, more people have turned to communities to provide solutions to many problems.
Education is one sector that has been impacted tremendously with the rise of community initiatives. Democratized learning in physical meetups and online social gatherings have both inspired many people to get better and pointed members to valuable resources for little or nothing in cost.
We, as members of the EventPlog team, all belong to Developer Circles Lagos, as well as a few other communities.
As organizers, we would like to be better accountable throughout the process of planning and executing our offline meetups for three reasons:
- To track track of how our offline events translate to both online and offline goals.
- To give better event and finance reports to sponsors and stakeholders.
- To see, from well documented feedback, where we could do better/opportunities to improve.
As a guest, we would like to be able to document our learnings/resolutions from events we attend in a way that we could go back to after a space of time. We would also like to be able to share our learnings with other members of the community and read what others have learnt too.
As a representative of a local startup in the community who can sponsor events, I want to be able to see how much impact the event made (or is making) and in which domain. I would also like a financial report. I would use these reports to form part of my quarterly or half-year reports to stakeholders as my effort to give back to my community or grow local talent.
What it does
Eventplog helps organizers, guests and sponsors work better together to create impactful, measurable community-based events.
Eventplog helps community leaders/event organizers get better at planning and accounting and makes it easy for guests to give feedback and record learnings. It also shows sponsors all the data they care about to know if they should sponsor a meetup and easy ways to track their return on investment
What responsibilities do we mean?
- Plan events better while working with unskilled volunteers
- Account for number of guests and their satisfaction with the event through check-in processes and feedback
- Tie event outputs to meetups goals
- Proactively know which events to sponsor based on available required data (meetup goals, organizers, guest strength and dedication, etc)
- Get post-event reports (social impact report and finance report) on the events sponsored.
- Share helpful feedback during and after an event.
- Keep notes that summarize individual learnings from an event. Share if they choose.
How we built it
Eventplog is built with React running on Node JS on the frontend, Ruby on Rails on the Backend. Even though we are community organizers ourselves (we plan community events at least twice a month), we spoke with other organizers to get a good sense of what would be appreciated.
Eventplog is about 60% complete. The most built-out part right now is the organizers section. We decided to split our race to MVP to focus on one of the three distinct roles at a time.
We focused first on organizers since they bring all three roles together.
We're focusing next on guests, the recipients of the value created by the organizers. That's actually the stage we are right now. We worked with about 10 top community members to build out a feedback system they would like to respond to. Here we are also leveraging Messenger bot as a way to collect feedback from guests who checked in using messenger.
Once we get feedback collection right, we'll move on to sponsors. We are already talking to two of our top local sponsors. They ABSOLUTELY LOVE the idea and are willing to work with us on a manual implementation of the process first, before we build the process into features.
Challenges we ran into
- We made a lot of wrong assumptions at the beginning. It helped that being organizers ourselves we are constantly working with other organizers. So luckily we got constructive feedback early on in the process and overhauled more than a few things :)
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- We launched an MVP for the organizers section on the 21st of July with an event that attracted 66 guests! We not only beat the hackathon deadline, we built a product that actually captured 100% of the check-ins and gave a comprehensive report to the organizers.
What we learned
Start talking to users as soon as you conceive the idea!! This is something we are already doing with any new additions/feature suggestions and have informed our product decisions based off it. Also it helps to observe users use the product. Watching a guest struggle with finding the feedback form made us completely change its position.
Having a diverse team is strength. We've got two Engineers, one Product Marketer, one Content Strategist and one Social Media Strategist. 60% male, 40% female. The difference in perspectives and out-of-box thinking is more than amazing.
What's next for EventPlog
We'll continue to work with local sponsors to build out an amazing solution they would love. At the same time, we'll continue to improve on the way EventPlog serves organizers and guests.
In all, we'll continue to build out a platform that helps communities work better together to build events with improved, measured social impact.