We organized the sold out, 1,400+ person international DrupalCon in Washington, DC in March 2009 - to that date, the largest Drupal developers’ conference in history. Over 130 people presented 109 sessions, not including the people who led the 100+ “birds of a feather” ad hoc sessions. We organized 75+ volunteers to help run the conference, and solicited 55 Drupal shops, technology companies, and other organizations to sponsor the event. In the end, the event raised over $180,000 in profit for the Drupal Association to expand its outreach and further the Drupal project. Bonnie Bogle wrapped up the conference with a transparent financial recap for the world to see where the money went. This leadership role in the community was a natural extension for us after being involved with the community for more than six years at that time. Leveraging our resources for the event was the least we could do to give back.
The DrupalCon DC website was a key element for organizing the successful event. The site let a huge, active community engage with all aspects of the event from registration all the way through to post-event highlights. In conjunction with a very active Twitter communications plan, the site was the primary marketing tool for the conference, so we wanted the website design to set the tone for a professional, community-centered event. We also wanted the site to demonstrate Drupal’s strengths for supporting good design, as well as its strength as a community content creation platform.
The site’s features were geared toward serving the Drupal community. Sessions were posted and vetted online in the open. A t-shirt design contest was used to crowd source designs for the shirts given out to all event attendees. A directory of all attendees let people network ahead of time, and people used the directory afterward to connect names with the faces of the people they met at the show. After the event, the site was converted into a time capsule to showcase the videos from each session so that the rich knowledge base created at the event could be shared with a wider audience. The site served as a beginning-to-end solution for managing the conference and was a cornerstone of a great event.
The website helped set the tone for the conference as a high energy community event, which led to a lot of enthusiasm, successful fundraising, and a mind-blowingly fast ticket sell rate for a successful sold-out event. To see more great pictures of the conference, look at Chris Rynearson’s shots on flickr, the unofficial chief photographer of DrupalCon’s.