Develop and evangelize a standard feed format (RSS/XML) to promote global syndication
There are many different xml feeds being used, including several that have been suggested as a standard (Xcal, RDF Calendar, RSS Events) - Allforgood should work towards wider adoption of a standard as this will make syndicating and aggregating volunteer opportunities more ubiquitous. The more data that is syndicated and then aggregated, the more convenient it is for users to find volunteer opportunities.
Is I was willing to volunteer for Allforgood (write code, etc), how do I contact you?
Hey Eric, I think I remember reading somewhere that AllForGood is built on Python, which is not my language of choice, but I may be able to donate some time to do some coding to help make some of these ideas reality. Let me know...
P.S. I'd be willing to help, but my efforts (cold calling volunteer organizations, basically) has had a pretty limited success.
The FPXML spec is a fine bit of XML, but it's too specific. Have you had a look at the feeds used by other organizations (like Volunteermatch for example) - they are usually based on Atom, with some tags from some other namespace (dublin core, georss) for start date, end date, and location.
When you think about it, a volunteer opportunity has the same data elements as an "event" - an organization or a person is making something happen (or wants something to happen) at a given place and time. Some categorizing information is useful as well. Creating a more generic, standard, feed format will result in wider adoption. Re-using existing namespaces will also help with adoption, as the existing feed readers will need less modification to make sense of the feed.
I'd suggest contacting people at the organizations you pull feeds from (especially the larger ones), as well as other interested parties (the DataPortability group) to form small working group and develop a standard. Going that route, the participants should be bought in to *using* the final product, and that will help drive adoption.
AdminEric (Admin, All For Good) commented
We have actually created a feed format, called FPXML, that providers can feed data into our site for - take a look at http://code.google.com/p/allforgood/downloads/list and http://www.allforgood.org/posting
We'd love to get your suggestions on how to improve the format and promote adoption.