Stewards Survey Recap: help us help you

A few months ago, Mozilla’s Community Building Team ran a survey of all the Mozilla stewards. Stewards are community builders who work to bring in volunteers in both functional and regional areas primarily through the Get Involved page. We received forty six responses to our twenty two question survey, and the results provided the motivation and direction to help the Community Building team focus and better scale for the rest of the year.

As a team, we work to support people across the project building trusting and healthy communities, and for many contributors, their first interaction with Mozilla is through the stewards, who answer emails and interact with volunteers from first contact. While 37% of stewards find their work meaningful, there is still a lot that we can do to help improve their experience, which in turn will help us create more scalable community partners.

Creating scalable communities of contributors is a main focus of our work this year, which community builders have written about in blog posts and other documentation, but this survey contains a good deal of additional information for Mozillians who are onboarding new contributors both as local and project-wide stewards.

The need for better systems, curriculum, and documentation was a focus in steward responses, and as a team we are seeking to address this issue by providing the project with more detailed community metrics, better processes for recognizing contributors, and working to improve the wiki and Get Involved page to make it more accessible for new contributors. Other stewards asked for more support with mentoring, events, and retaining volunteers.

As an organization, we strive to work in the open, and contributors feel motivated by their interpersonal connections with the Mozilla community. Stewards pointed to parts of the project that work for contributors, such as SuMo, which provides buddies, mentoring, and support to their contributors by allowing contributors to find one another through forums and other systems. These kinds of interactions are not the norm, but many stewards provided feedback that they should be a standard. Because contributors are interacting with stewards directly, it makes it hard to know how many contributors are actually being onboarded via the existing systems, although 41% of stewards claim they are onboarding more volunteers than last year.

We have been building the infrastructure to ameliorate these issues and know that by building community support, our team can help not only grow our contributor base, but also make work more fruitful for the people who make the project run. Building communities is not an hour of answering emails, but instead by years of sustained, bottom-up work.

Surveys like this one are part of the process. We are passionate about our community’s health and growth, and feedback is perhaps the most important part of learning together for the future. We look forward to how much more we can learn from the Mozilla community to show the project that everyone’s work is appreciated and valued.

Thank you to the stewards who generously give their time to our project and who took the time to fill out the survey. As always, you can get in touch to share your Mozilla story here.

Take a look at the charts and graphs from the survey after the jump!

Are you still the main person (or lead person) answering volunteer inquiries for your functional area?

Yes 30 65 %
No 5 11 %
Sometimes 11 24 %

How much time per week do you spend following up with potential volunteers?

1 to 3 hours 18 41 %
3 to 10 hours 10 23 %
10-20 hours 1 2 %
Less than one hour 11 25 %
I have no time to follow up 🙁 4 9 %

Do you feel, overall, that your work as a community steward is fruitful/successful?

Yes 17 37 %
No 6 13 %
Somewhat 23 50 %

What approximate percentage of your prospective volunteers turn into actual contributors?

less than 10% 16 35 %
10-25% 6 13 %
50-75% 5 11 %
more than 75% 1 2 %
really hard to say 11 24 %
Other 7 15 %

Would you say that you are onboarding more or fewer prospective volunteers now than this time last year?

More 19 41 %
Fewer 4 9 %
The same 14 30 %
Other 9 20 %

What approximate percentage of your incoming volunteer candidate emails are actually people seeking another opportunity, or spam, or not offering volunteer work?

25% or less 25 57 %
25-50% 4 9 %
50-75% 1 2 %
75-100% 3 7 %
Other 11 25 %

Is the work of answering incoming inquiries overwhelming for you/your team?

Yes 8 19 %
No 20 47 %
Sometimes 8 19 %
Other 7 16 %