Penguin Day DC

Event Date(s): 
March 12, 2014

Please plan on joining us for the 10-year anniversary of Penguin Day!

Free Software. Open Source. Nonprofit. Technology. Capacity Building.

Penguin Days are designed to let nonprofits and social justice activists learn about free and open source software (FOSS) that can support their work and potentially save them money, including tools for web publishing, fundraising, blogging, and campaigning.

Check out what’s on the Penguin Day DC Agenda!

Penguin Day DC will take place at:

The Pew Charitable Trusts DC Conference Center
901 E St. NW
Washington, DC 20004-2008

Register Now!

Be prepared for an awesome day celebrating and exploring the world of free and open source software!

And check out what happened at the last Penguin Day DC.

Calling all eRiders!

At Penguin Day DC 2014, we’ll have a full slate of eRider-focused sessions. Included in this set of discussions will be a planning session for a larger eRider summit and roundup to take place in mid-2014.

A decade ago there was a significant shift in the epicentre of tech capacity building with the emergence of the eRider movement. eRiders were an evolution of a proven tech capacity building model known as Circuit Riders. Where Circuit Riders were charged with strengthening U.S non-profits in their ability to achieve their missions by utilizing technology, eRiders were an international version, helping civil society organisations strengthen their efforts. The main difference being that eRiders were focused in resource-strapped developing and transition countries.

As part of this shift in the practice of tech capacity building, a group of eRiders came to the US to rub shoulders with their US counterparts. The learning that occurred was far from one way, as the US circuit riders found the new application of the their model extremely enlightening. A huge part of this two-way learning occurred during the very first Penguin Day in Philadelphia in March 2004.

If you are not familiar with the concept of eRiding or just want more of the history, check out Dirk Slater’s fabulous blog post about the eRider reunion.

To mark the 10 years passing, we invite you to reconnect and celebrate the impact of eRiders with us. We want to engage in discussion about the legacy of eRiding, the lessons learned, and the future of tech capacity building.

Register Now!


The agenda for Penguin Day will span a range of topics relevant to nonprofit techies, decision-makers, and activists.

The participatory, dialog-driven format of sessions will enable practitioners at all levels to share knowledge, find answers to questions, discover new allies and collaborators, and get better connected to a range free and open source communities and networks.

We welcome session proposals and session requests! Just Contact us!

Free and Open Source Software for Nonprofits

  • Introduction to Free and Open Source Software
  • FOSS Desktop: Introduction to Linux
  • Choosing a FOSS Content Management System (CMS) for your web site
  • Participating in Free and Open Source communities
  • Introductory and advanced WordPress
  • Introduction to Joomla!
  • Introductory and advanced CiviCRM

eRiding and Nonprofit Technology Capacity Building

  • A brief history of Circuit Riding and eRiding
  • What is the role of the “tech intermediary” in 2014?
  • Nonprofit technology capacity building, today and for the future

Business and Tech Process

  • What should a web site cost?
  • Managing nonprofit technology projects
  • How to write an RFP (Request for Proposal)

Security and Privacy

  • Operation Security for Nonprofits
  • Introduction to Tor for anonymous web browsing
  • How to encrypt email
  • How to create an encrypted laptop or desktop computer
  • What data should (and should not) live in the cloud?

Data and Identity

  • Coordinating all your online accounts
  • Establishing and protecting your nonprofit’s online identity
  • Do you know where all your data lives?

Did we mention that we welcome session proposals and session requests? Just Contact us!

Register Now!

What in the world is a Penguin Day?

Are you passionate or curious about the reality, the potential and the role of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in nonprofit organizations? Do you want to learn about latest free and open web publishing tools and technologies? Would you like to meet other like-minded and passionate participants, including developers, activists, and nonprofit “techies”?

Penguin Day DC will bring together nonprofit technology staff with free and open source software (FOSS) developers for a day of learning and conversation.

We’ll explore and explain open source for nonprofits, frankly address the challenges of developing open source tools for nonprofits, and celebrate strengths and successes of open source in the nonprofit sector. Leading open source innovators in the nonprofit sector will share their stories and knowledge, and focus on answering your questions!

If you are curious about open source software for your nonprofit organization, Penguin Days are for you!

Register Now!

Who is organizing Penguin Day in DC?

Penguin Day San Francisco is being made possible with the help of Aspiration, PICnet, FabRiders, CiviCRM, local partners and YOU!

What Are Others Saying About Penguin Days?

I had a wonderful time at Penguin Day. It was one of the best IT related conferences I’ve been to. I’m definitely in a position to help my current and future non-profits with MUCH needed tools. I thank y’all on their behalf. Keep up the good work and positive energy.” - Steve Garrison,

Penguin Day was great - I had an excellent day - made new friends, put a lot of faces to email addresses, had a whole load of fun - and got introduced to some new applications and distributions! Thanks again to everyone who organised the day, ran sessions etc - it made my 4,500 mile trip worthwhile!” - Ian, from London, UK

Penguin Days are a fantastic opportunity to get together with a wide variety of people and understand more about the issues that surround open source. Unlike a lot of conference/gatherings, the emphasis in these is on meeting people and making connections that you carry out of them room. And that works.” - Marnie from San Francisco

Now on to Penguin Day… Wow. For my part I was impressed by the international scope of the audience, folks from Great Britain, Canada, Kenya, Turkey, Ghana, Chicago and all points in between. The energy was great and the range of topics on the agenda meant there was something for everyone….suffice it to say Penguin Day set the mark against which all other events will be measured in my mind.” - John from Chicago


Since 2004, Penguin Days have been held in Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon; London, England; Toronto, Canada, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Texas and Seattle.

Hundreds of nonprofit staff, programmers, and activists have attended Penguin Days. Penguin Days feature humorous “SpeedGeeking” sessions (playfully modeled after speed-dating) to bring programmers and organizations together to learn more about each other and free and open source software.

The Penguin is the symbol adopted in the early days of Linux as the mascot of this growing software movement.