Different processes work for different communities, but here we will provide some guidance and best practices for managing your contributor funnels. Moving forward, we are looking into providing tools for you to use and ways to extract meaningful metrics from the inquiries coming in leading to more effective onboarding.
- 1 What does it mean to say yes?
- 2 Setting expectations
- 3 Mozilla Hispano's Process
- 4 Mozilla l10n process
- 5 SUMO's regional community building efforts
- 6 Tips from Mozilla Recruiting
- 7 Mozilla Marketing's Process
- 8 Josh's Email Triage Script
- 9 Mozilla Tunisia Community Building
- 10 Badge Pathways
- 11 Writing Good Emails
- 12 Contribution Paths in Mozilla presentation
What does it mean to say yes?
A basic question to answer is: 'What does it mean to say yes to community building?'
People are interested in bringing volunteers into their projects, but it's not always clear what will happen once they commit to doing this. Even for projects that have volunteers already, it's not clear what will happen if they start scaling their efforts up by getting connected to a contribution funnel that sends them many people a day who want to help out.
So for example, if you want to commit to bring in volunteers to your team, that may mean you need 1 person from the team to focus on this and spend 3 hours week working on a plan, etc.
I think it's important to set expectations so that people running a funnel don't get discouraged if not everyone who shows up and wants to volunteer goes on to become a contributor. There are two main areas to set expectations around:
- The range of inquiries: Michelle from Recruiting says that from her experience managing a funnel of people applying for a job there is a rule of thirds: Expect that around 1/3 of inquiries are from promising candidiates, 1/3 may be qualified but there's not enough information and 1/3 won't be relevant (support questions, off-topics inquiries, etc).
- The follow-through: Even though someone is expressing interest in contributing, they may not move forward (things change, they didn't realize the time commitment, etc). So we should expect some amount of drop-off in every step forward someone takes to become a contributor. We don't have great metrics now, so it can be hard to measure this -- on the flip side, because we don't have great contribution metrics someone may be moving forward that we don't see. For example, if you email someone how to get involved with your project and they don't respond, that may be because you gave them all the information they needed.
It could be interesting to do some research and demonstrate how this works in other volunteer-based organizations.
Speaking of setting expectations through metrics, it would be great to have tips for communities about how to track conversion of potential contributors into active and core contributors. For instance, Mozilla Hispano has manually pulled these numbers together recently:
- 2770 inquiries (18 per day).
- 320 answered the first email (11,5%).
- 40 started their contributions to the community via mentor (12,5% of the answers and 1,5% of the total).
- This means we got around 2 real contributors per week. Of course contributors come and go, so we should wait a few months more to see how many become core contributors
We can also work with the Metrics team to create a live dashboard for a local community to use as a template for other communities.
Mozilla Hispano's Process
Based on the blog post by Nukeador.
Here is an example process from first contact to assigning the contributor a mentor:
- Someone fills out the form on your localised Contribute page (from mozilla.org/contribute or an embedded form)
- The email comes into your alias or the address of the individual triaging the emails.
- The person who filled out the form gets an auto-response, with different links depending on the area of interest. Here it is important to note that this email tells people to read a few links with information about how to get involved (area description, link to contribute forum...) and to answer when they are ready to start (reply-to header is defined to your customised email address). The auto-response email templates do not need to be translated literally, you can cusomise them to your needs.
- It is difficult to handle more than 100 inquiries per week if you have to manually answer every one, so you can wait until the person reads the initial information and answers the auto-response email to assign them a mentor.
- In the auto-response, stress that they can contribute to Mozilla even if they do not have much time. It has been observed that many people don't answer this first auto-response because they are not sure if they were going to be able to handle it.
- If the person answers, a mentor is assigned and you go through procedure for onboarding new contributors.
At every step along the way in this process, there is room for maneuver and further refinement. If you have any best practices in how you do it, please do share here.
See also: Community workflow reboot to task-centric approach
Mozilla l10n process
Our challenge here has been complicated. Our process has to fit these requirements:
- It has to support growth within an l10n team while respecting their workflow.
- It has to give the newcomer an assignment with rapid payoff.
- It has to plug the newcomer into the existing l10n team.
- It has to lead the newcomer to resources to learn how to contribute beyond the initial assignment.
- It has to lead the newcomer to resources to help them start their own l10n of Firefox if one doesn't already exist.
Here is our workflow:
- Inquiree receives auto-response directing the newcomer to http://wiki.mozilla.org/L10n:Contribute.
- L10n:Contribute contains five steps for them to get involved. These steps were designed with two goals in mind: 1) give them something simple to do to contribute that doesn't interrupt the workflow of the l10n teams, & 2) get them plugged into the l10n teams from the very beginning while respecting their own onboarding funnels.
- Newcomer visits their l10n team's wiki page, (here's a good example page: https://wiki.mozilla.org/L10n:Teams:pt-BR). There is a header that says "How to join this l10n team" where each l10n team should list five steps to joining and contributing to their effort.
- Newcomer contacts the team and begins contributing to the l10n team's effort with minimal disruption and within the team's established workflow.
A very important part of this workflow is ensuring that all l10n teams identify these five steps to joining and contributing to their team. Without those, the newcomer flownders and ultimately does not turn into an active contributor.
SUMO's regional community building efforts
SUMO has been doing some regional community building efforts to create Firefox OS support communities in countries where devices will be launching. Madalina referenced a successful Brazilian community building plan they had that built up a new community in about 6 months. Would be good to document and share.
The Webprod team is also getting started on a community building effort and they're documenting things at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Webdev/Web_Production/Community
Tips from Mozilla Recruiting
Michelle Marovich from Mozilla Recruiting has pulled together some tips from her experience in the Onboarding New Volunteers Workshop
Mozilla Marketing's Process
- Interested individual receives an auto-response thanking them for their interest and inviting them to become a Firefox Affiliate  and invites them to respond if they have further questions.
- Their submission to the contribute form is sent to a shared mailbox and then evaluated by the intake team (ie - they check for spam). Promising candidates are given this follow up response or a variant thereof:
Hi there, I just wanted to follow up and see if you had all the information you needed to get started with Marketing at Mozilla. Were you able to sign up to be a Firefox Affiliate?
Before we get to deeply into other ways you can help, I wanted to ask you what interests you about contributing to Mozilla? To give you an idea of what we do have a look at our marketing guide here (https://wiki.mozilla.org/MarketingGuide). Let me know and based on that you tell me, I can help find out where you direct you next.
If you're looking for getting involved with some easy testing, I would suggest that you start using the nightly builds of Firefox for Desktop and for Android. You can get them here; http://nightly.mozilla.org/. Using those builds and filing bugs is a great way to help. If you'd like to try something less experimental, check out Aurora or Beta: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/.
Finally if you'd like to learn more about Firefox and Mozilla, please sign up for our monthly newsletter here: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/newsletter/ or follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Firefox or Twitter: https://twitter.com/firefox
Thanks and let me know if you have any additional questions.
- The goal of this response is to get a better understanding of what their interests are within marketing so that we can connect them with the right marketing project or department. We will be soon asking them to sign up for the marketing e-mail list and encouraging them to participate in Engagement team waves.
- Depending on the content of their original message (ie, if they indicate that they are interested in marketing in their region) they may also be connected to a Mozilla rep from their country, ccing that rep on the reply or we connect them to their regional community like Mozilla Hispano or Mozilla France.
Josh's Email Triage Script
I've thrown it up on github at https://github.com/jdm/mailassist with the bare minimum of customization required in a config file (named config). The actual template responses and filters are still hardcoded in the python script;
Mozilla Tunisia Community Building
Carla from the Open Badges team is writing a series of posts about badge pathways. This could be useful for people thinking of tying badges to contributions, but the concepts around pathways also applies to contribution pathways that don't include badges.
In particular, the discussions around the different types of pathways can be useful for teams and communities at different stages of development (new communities may need a different type of path than established communities).
Writing Good Emails
Slides from the Foundation: http://engagingopenly.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/email-and-donations-training/
Some good things in here that apply to writing back to people who want to volunteer, for example slide 48 talks about having one clear ask in the email.