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Organizers Handbook

Welcome, organizer!

The aim of this handbook is to introduce you to the resources, benefits, and responsibilities of being a Public Lab organizer. Please be encouraged to reach out to your fellow organizers with any questions!

Table of Contents:

What do we mean by “organizer”?

Excerpted from

Public Lab organizers are community members who are leaders in the Public Lab community, and have an interest in the way our community collaborates and grows. Typically but not exclusively, these are people who are both key organizers in their local communities as well as key contributors to the broader Public Lab community through work on things such as the website and communications. Organizers often host events or moderate discussion lists, and help shepherd the Public Lab community in other ways.

Organizers contribute to building and expanding Public Lab’s culture and infrastructure. To support this, you will receive access to resources, materials, training, support and internal communication channels. Organizers also have responsibilities to the larger Public Lab community. These are outlined in the rest of the document.

The role of organizers in Public Lab

Below are some of the recommended ways in which you can help support the Public Lab community though your role as an organizer:

  • Review the values statement in rough draft form here.
  • Attend at least one organizers call per month or per quarter.
  • Steward a topic area of your choice. This can be done by facilitating conversations on mailing lists, pushing people to post research on their discussions, post and comment on research notes and update wiki pages.
  • Support your local chapter. This can be done by holding meetups, welcoming new members, identifying research opportunities with partner organizations, helping document local events and publishing on them in research notes and wikis.
  • Tracking dates and attendance at the events you organize and report back to Public Lab staff.
  • Help bringing on new organizers to the group, especially focusing on regional and community-wide diversity.
  • Complete a yearly survey to identify your projects, goals and engagement as an organizer.

Getting started

The very first thing that will happen when your nomination is accepted is that you will be welcomed and introduced to everyone through the Organizers google group (see below).

The following three steps should be completed within the first two weeks of your nomination:

  1. Fill out the organizer contact form so the Public Lab organizers know how to contact you, send you materials. This is where your welcome packet will be sent.
  2. Update the wiki/organizers page to include your name on the top of the list, link it to your profile, add in your preferred location and bump the number count up one.
  3. Attend at least one organizers call within the first three weeks.

Communication channels

There are a variety of ways to communicate and work with your fellow organizers, and to communicate and work as an organizer with the broader Public Lab community.

Public Communications

Below are ways to communicate and share with the greater Public Lab community:

Private communications

  • The private organizers discussion list ( - though we prize openness, having a private list can be helpful for sensitive topics and planning meetings
  • Open Calls. On the first Thursday of every month, there's an open call anyone can join and actually talk to other Public Labbers. The time alternates between 12:30PM and 7PM EST, and we post the call-in numbers and link on the event calendar. Please check the events listed for the first Thursday of the month on the Events page.

In person communications

The Organizers Summit is an annual event the day preceding the annual Barnraising. This gathering is aimed at bringing organizers together to set goals, collaborate on projects and build our skills as Public Lab community leaders.

Resources for organizers

Kits and printed resources

As a Public Lab organizer, you have access to some free and discounted kits and services.

When you first become an organizer, Kits Team will mail you an organizer’s welcome pack containing:

  • 50 stickers
  • 50 about Public Lab cards
  • 15 Brochures
  • 5 copies of the most recent Community Science Forum
  • one of each flat kit

As an organizer, you also receive a 20% discount at the Public Lab Store with the discount code you received in the welcome email.

Workshop and presentation support

We offer a monthly $200 organizer event funding support to organizers. Applications for these funds are due the 20th day of the month, the month prior to the scheduled event. The application form can be found here.

As an organizer, you have access to the Public Lab Events Google Calendar to add and promote events. The calendar is displayed on

Organizers have created resources that are reusable and updatable! Some of these include:

Workshop guides for activities such as


Public Lab offers three fellowship options which are laid out on this wiki page. Although fellowships are open to all in the Public Lab community, organizers are noted with distinction in the application process.

Project support

Project support that is available to organizers from the non-profit team include:

Organizers as a group

Organizers function both as individuals and as a collective body. The input of organizers often help to direct Public Lab non-profit and community. Yet organizers most often self-define how they contribute to community growth and development. It is important to recognize both the influence organizers have on the non-profit and community, as well as their individual rights to define their contributions.

The undersigning process

Public Lab organizers discuss and debate issues important to our community. When statements supporting a particular position are circulated for signatures, we act as a faculty: support for such statements shall be attributed to “the undersigned Public Lab organizers, [list of names]”. When circulating statements, include how it will be published (internal doc only, on, or external website). IF there is full consensus (100% of active organizers) for a given statement, the Public Lab organizers may sign as a body: "the Public Lab organizers".


We recognize that, at times, the responsibilities of being a Public Lab organizer fall behind other demands. Therefore, you have the opportunity to define your status as an organizer, as either “active” or “inactive” this will be reflected on the Organizer’s page.

Organizers who have not been 'active' in the Public Lab community for a calendar year will be contacted by the community development team to see if they would like to remain active or be listed as inactive. This is to ensure that the list of organizers is public facing with those who wish to be seen as currently available for Public Lab communications.

  • The word 'active' above is defined as anyone who has had a visible presence in the Public Lab community. This includes:

  • completing the yearly survey

  • contributing to mailing lists
  • posting research notes
  • participating in OpenHour
  • participating in organizers calls (Open Calls)
  • attending a Public Lab event
  • or any other Public Lab activity


Any organizer who has been placed in 'moderation' will automatically be removed from the Public Lab organizer's group.

Useful Document Links:

community organizers