This is the story of free and open source solutions that made an event more inclusive and less costly.
On the weekend of June 9th, 2017, thousands of progressive americans came together in Chicago for the 2nd annual People’s Summit. There were inspiring speakers, such as Nina Turner, as well as brilliant panels that enlightened, informed, and educated the throngs of activists who had gathered from around the nation. The keynote speaker was Bernie Sanders, who asked the assembled crowd of over 4,000 attendees, “How many of you have run for office, or are actively involved in local campaigns? Stand up.” Half the audience stood. It was truly inspiring.
A few months earlier, in April, organizers came to us, looking for a solution to sell tickets more profitably. Last year, Eventbrite had cost them an exorbitant sum of money in fees. Fees that could have been spent on stipends to help people attend—one of The People’s Summit’s main goals. So, this time around, they wanted to deploy their own ticket sales system.
In the end, we delivered a unique solution that not only helped them achieve their goals, but also saved them ~ $10,00 in fees.
The People’s Summit 2017 asked Good Good Work to develop a ticketing system that could circumvent third-party websites such as Eventbrite while making the event more inclusive and diverse. While helping them save a pretty large sum of money, we also saved them a lot of time by automating parts of the system they didn’t think they could.
There were three main parts to this system:
- Applications system – We needed to create a step in the application process that would involve partner organizations first, before moving accepted applications on to the registration process, starting with the gateway.
- Registration Gateway – Once an applicant was approved, the website needed a way to verify their acceptance before letting them buy a ticket. We also needed to be sure that the applicant’s data—such as a registration code—hadn’t already been used to buy a ticket before.
- Sales system – Once an accepted applicant was through the gateway, we needed a way for them to purchase their ticket.
The People’s dorms
This year we were invited to collaborate with The People’s Summit; they needed a hand with some technology and we were happy to help! Our biggest job was building a custom system for their application and registration process. One of the smaller things we did was help them stand up a quick online store for conference attendees to book rooms. With over 4,000 people in attendance—and many needing financial help—having some less expensive (or free) places to stay was crucial. The dorms cost people roughly $32/night where the average hotel in downtown Chicago is about $240/night, making attendance at the conference possible for many more people.
We really want to applaud the staff for prioritizing accessibility instead of profit, especially considering their goal of supporting grassroots groups and community leaders and getting people ready to run for local office.