One of Mozilla’s goals for 2014 is to grow the number of active contributors by 10x. As we’ve been working on this, we’ve been learning a lot of interesting things. I’m going to do a series of posts with some of those insights.
The recent launch of the contributor dashboard has provided a lot of interesting information. What stands out to me is the churn — we’re able to connect new people to opportunities, but growth is slower than it could be because many people are leaving at the same time.
To really highlight this part of the data, Pierros made a chart that compares the number of new people who are joining with the number of people leaving. The results are dramatic — more people are joining, but the number of people leaving is significant.
This is understandable — the goal for this year is about connecting new people and we haven’t focused much effort on retention. As the year winds down and we look to next year, I encourage us to think about what a serious retention effort would look like.
I believe that the heart of a retention effort is to make it very easy for contributors to find new contribution opportunities as well as helping them make connections with other community members.
Stories we’ve collected from long time community members almost all share the thread of making a connection with another contributor and getting hooked. We have data from an audit that shows this too — a positive experience in the community keeps people sticking around.
There are many ways we could help create those connections. Just one example is the Kitherder mentor matching tool that the Security team is working on. They did a demo of it at the last Grow Mozilla meeting.
I don’t know what the answer is though, so I’d love to hear what other people think. What are some of the ways you would address contributor retention?