Organization administrator guide

Current phase:
The 2021 Season of Docs program finished on December 14, 2021. See timeline.

This guide is intended for organization administrators applying for or participating in the 2021 Season of Docs program.

Should your organization participate in the 2021 Season of Docs program?

Use these questions to help you understand whether your open source project or organization should participate in Season of Docs.

Does your organization or project:

  • Believe new or updated documentation would help achieve a goal or solve a problem in your project or community?
  • Have an initial understanding of or hypothesis for how you would measure the success of your documentation project?
  • Have community members willing to help recruit, evaluate, and onboard a technical writer, and who would be available to answer questions and provide other support during the project (6-8 months, including the application period)?
  • Have a community member willing to serve as the organization administrator and coordinate creating the application, responding to questions from the program administrators, and submitting monthly evaluations and the final evaluation and case study? The organization administrator should also be willing to answer followup surveys after the completion of the 2021 Season of Docs.

Your organization should also meet the program eligibility requirements, including being able to create an Open Collective account.

The organization application process

Exploration phase

Although the 2021 Season of Docs applications open February 9, 2021, we strongly suggest that organizations take the time to complete the steps in the Exploration phase before submitting their application.

  • Create a project proposal page. The proposal page includes a list of key needs, goals, or problems, possible documentation solutions, and possible metrics. This page should be public, and allow for community contribution and discussion. Include information for technical writers who would like to participate—where should they ask questions, express interest, or go learn more about your project? (See the project ideas list for examples.)
  • Publicize your proposal page in your community channels and add your organization to the list of interested organizations in the Season of Docs GitHub repository. You may also want to share your link in the #season-of-docs channel in the Write The Docs Slack. The promotion and press page includes logos and other content that you can use when talking about Season of Docs.
  • For each documentation idea, consider what experience and qualifications a technical writer would need to work successfully with your community and organization. What skills would your community be able to help a technical writer develop (for example, using GitHub or your docs toolchain)? (See the guide for working with technical writers.
  • Ask for volunteers to help answer questions from interested technical writers.
  • Begin reviewing any submitted statements of interest from technical writers interested in working with your project.

Application phase

  • Choose the most promising idea from your proposal page. Each organization may only submit one proposal. Some things to consider:
    • Which idea has received the most interest from technical writers?
    • Which idea will help solve your project’s biggest problem? It’s better to choose a riskier idea that would have a bigger impact than an idea for a documentation project that is more likely to be completed but won’t make a significant difference to your project.
    • Does the idea require participation by specific members of your community? Do they have the time to participate?
  • Create your proposal, using the proposal template. Make sure you understand and include:

    • The problem you want to address
    • The scope of the documentation you want to improve or create
    • How you will measure the success of your documentation

    Your proposal must also include a budget. Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

  • Submit the Application Form by the application deadline March 26, 2021 at 18:00 UTC. Accepted proposals will be announced on April 16, 2021.

Project development and reporting

Project kickoff

  • If your organization has already selected a technical writer or writers for your project, have a kickoff meeting with your technical writer. You should collaborate with your technical writer to create a schedule for the work and regular check-ins.
  • If you received multiple statements of interest from interested technical writers, make a public announcement of your technical writer selection or otherwise inform applicants of your decision.

Grant payments

  • Season of Docs will deposit 40% of the grant funds in each organization’s Open Collective account after they have hired a technical writer, starting on June 10, 2021. We recommend that organizations create a payment schedule with technical writers based on project milestones, including a payment at project kickoff.
  • The remaining 60% will be deposited into the Open Collective accounts of organizations that complete and submit their final evaluations and case studies, starting on December 14, 2021.
  • See the payments guide for more information about creating an Open Collective account.

Project status reporting

  • Organization administrators should fill out the monthly status reports within a week of receiving the link to the status report form (link will be sent by email, so please check your spam folder).

Project final evaluation and case study

Organizations must complete and submit both the project final evaluation and the case study before November 30, 2021 at 18:00 UTC to receive the remaining grant funds.

Final evaluation

The final evaluation form will become available to organization administrators no less that one month before November 30, 2021 at 18:00 UTC.

Case study

The Season of Docs case study is the key deliverable of your organization’s participation in Season of Docs 2021. Keeping a weekly log of project updates will help you create your case study. For each week, record project progress (including links to pull requests,issues, or conversations, where useful), what went well (or not well),things you learned, and questions that were asked.

Please read creating a case study for additional information and be sure to follow our case study template to create your case study. You will submit your case study as a link in the final evaluation form.

Your case study will be published on the Season of Docs site, so please keep that in mind when including information about your project.

We require that organizations participate in at least three followup surveys to help us track the success of Season of Docs projects over time.


Form Link Deadline
Organization application

Organization applications are now closed. Join the announcement mailing list at season-of-docs-announce to stay informed.

March 26, 2021 at 18:00 UTC
Organization payment information

Organization payment information phase complete. If you need to make changes to your organization's payment information, please contact the Season of Docs administrators.

May 12, 2021 at 18:00 UTC
Proof of technical writer hiring

Technical writer hiring phase complete.

May 17, 2021 at 18:00 UTC
Monthly evaluations

Monthly evaluations

See timeline
Final project evaluation and case study

Form available during final project evaluation and case study phase (November 22, 2024 - December 10, 2024).

November 30, 2021 at 18:00 UTC
Followup surveys

Form available during followup surveys phase (May 1, 2025).

See timeline