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Little time for charity? Consider contributing to Open Source

“There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer”

Is somebody cutting onions here?…

One of the smartest humans I’ve had the pleasure of working with, recently said “I don’t do causes, I do solutions” that statement really got me thinking.

Like most humans, I have a passion for helping others. Causes like Veterans rights, poverty alleviation and children’s access to technology are dear and near to my heart. I always want to do and give more; I have all the good intentions in the world. Also, I have two kids under five, a husband, an 85lbs golden-doodle, and lots of curiosity about software development. I am passionate AF, but also I’m busy.

We all have that nagging feeling deep inside the desire to do more for our fellow men. So we donate money here and there to different causes and sometimes (okay…maybe all the time) cry when the SPCA commercials are on tv. Still, at least, I feel like I’m not doing enough. Realistically, unless your job is full-time philanthropy feeling short and inadequate in your charitable efforts for is not uncommon.

What if there were a way to do more? From the comfort of your home, on your lunch break, at your pace. A tool to help a cause that you are passionate about. Lucky for me there is such tool: Open Source Software.

There are over 2000 non-profit open source projects on GitHub and growing. The majority depend on volunteer maintainers to stay alive, and the contributions needed are not only of code. Take Operation Code’s repository for example; there are at least ten issues labeled beginner. Beginner contributions range from updating website documentation to updating resource link in the site. You can also contribute by supporting other users in slack or discuss.

So here is the challenge I’m taking on myself, I will make at least one contribution bi-weekly to a non-profit open source project. I hope by adopting this ritual, it will become a part of my work/life flow.
If I can make a tiny dent via contributions to the causes I care about and help ease up the load of one volunteer maintainer, I will call it a success!
By the way you don’t have to be a Software Engineer to contribute, so join me and “May you be rewarded ten times over”.

Here are some resources to get us started: Open Source Guides Whats is open source? Up for grabs Six beginner friendly places for open source beginners Code Montage GitHub showcases Social Impact Code Newbie Github showcases great for new contributors