Las week we worked on Module 5: Online Engagement Strategies. Some of the inspiration for this module came from Alexandra Samuel and her Bringing Your Community To Life workshop. Alexandra suggests that you offer incentives or rewards for participation. So, thanks to NTEN, we offered prizes for participation free copies of books - either Media Rules and Mobilizing Generation 2.0.
I asked people to share a couple sentences about their experience from your nonprofit organization, or point to an excellent resource and add a sentence to describe it. Twenty people made contributions - although 7 contributions were made by "guests" - people who didn't register for the wiki. We picked the following 8 winners randomly - except I instantly rewarded the first contributor, Mazarine.
- Nancy White
- William Nourse
- Marc van Bree
- Kevin Martone
- Amy Sample Ward
- Mazarine Treyz
- Alex Berger
- Marilyn Walker
Reflections and questions
Registration required or not?
I set up the wiki to have the lowest barrier to participation - anyone can edit and they didn't have to register. That's great for encouraging participation - particularly the quick copy editors and typo fairies who have been stopping by and editing grammar and fixing mistakes. But, if you're doing a contest and you wanted to make a little easy to get contact information - required registration before your edit can be useful. And, while I asked people to leave their name and a link to the site, some "guests" made contributions and I had no way of knowing who they were or whether their intention was to enter the contest.
Instant Gratification and Surprise!
I think the surprise and instant reward of blogging about and honoring the first contribution might have motivated others to contribute. Did it? Techniques like this can help build momentum. What are some other ways to offer incentives?
Should everyone win something?
For my kids birthday parties, we never do games with rewards. Everyone gets a goody bag. I don't want anyone to feel left out. So, should everyone get some sort of prize? Of course, there is a capacity issue - and scaling. We didn't have an unlimited supply of books, so we couldn't give everyone a book. So, there are people that made a contributions - and excellent ones - that didn't win something. For example, John Kenyon - suggested some excellent community resources.
So, a few questions:
- How important was the incentive of a free book a factor in your decision to participate or not?
- If we didn't offer a free book, would have made a contribution to the wiki anyway?
- Why did you contribute to the wiki?
- What kept you from making a contribution to the wiki?