Shaping A Community Members Can't Help But Contribute To
Hey everyone - we're back with another edition of our Concept Thursdays.
Over the past year, I've helped dozens of Web3 communities, and I'm often asked for my best advice on getting active contributors.
So in today's edition, I want to share with you three best practices that I found particularly effective in turning lurkers into engaged contributors.
As you surely know, active members are essential in any community as they make the community grow, develop new initiatives, and make the overall community 10x more valuable. A community of engaged contributors is the *single* most important factor determining if your community sees success or goes nowhere.
Unfortunately, 99% of community builders focus on growing member volume rather than finding engaged members for their community because they fail to understand one thing.
10 active contributors are better than 1000 random members.
For the past 365 days of helping community builders attract contributors, I've noticed different mistakes most of them are making:
- They often aren't clear about what they expect from their members.
- They struggle to show the advantages of being a contributor.
- They don't invest enough time in showing members how to contribute.
- They engage members too late in the lifecycle.
So here are the three best practices that thriving communities all have mastered - making almost all Coinvise communities get a better Contributors/Lurkers ratio than any other Web3 communities.
Let me start here with the first one.
Best Practice #1: Define A Minimum Viable Expectation
A Minimum Viable Expectation is the determined minimum level of contribution your community will ask for anyone to become a member.
Implementing an MVE means accepting in the community ONLY those willing to put in thoughtful work.
I know, it can be scary at first.
But, trust me, in almost all Coinvise's communities implementing an MVE, I saw accepted members become increasingly willing to put in more bandwidth as they achieve great things as equals, not facing the free rider problem.
When you define your MVE, you need to outline clear metrics, meaning digging deeply into what behaviors you want your community to be propagating.
Depending on your goals, you can define a different MVE:
- Financial-based (e.g., holding 70 $TOKENS, $15/month NFT Membership)
- Time-based (e.g. 1 hour/week)
- Impact-based (e.g., providing a service, sharing X resources/week, turning up to a town hall, attending a squad event)
An MVE aligned with the community's goals will result in members putting effort into what's important for the community instead of suffering from the social pressure of having to show up every day.
Best Practice #2: Let Contributors Cultivate Their Own Sub-Communities.
Few people enjoy unwarranted scrutiny, and plenty of research supports the positive outcomes that autonomy inspires.
So let contributors freely create their own sub-group and delegate responsibilities from one to another through bonds of trust. This is what I call "Network Responsibilities."
You can develop this sense of Network Responsibility by:
- Creating "squads' and giving them full autonomy (e.g., Marketing, product, etc.)
- Providing organization & decision tools (e.g., Joke DAO, Notion, etc.)
- Rewarding & highlighting initiatives (e.g., tips culture, social tokens, etc.)
- Organizing weekly calls asking members for updates
- Implementing incentive mechanisms (KPI Options, Gift Circles, etc.)
Your goal is to develop a leaderful community - not a leaderless one.
In tokenized communities, being a leader doesn't mean having control, it means instigating work, carrying responsibility, and making space for others to lead their own sub-groups and further build the network.
So let contributors cultivate their own sub-communities, and they'll contribute endlessly.
Best Practice #3: Build A Framework For Off-Boarding And Re-Onboarding Members
Re-onboarding inactive members is undoubtedly one of the biggest missed opportunities within tokenized communities today as such process brings to the forefront the most engaged contributors while still keeping the community small.
Past members usually still have a deep emotional connection with the community, and when they decide to come back, they are 90% more likely to engage meaningfully.
To give you an idea of what a re-onboarding framework could look like, here's one that I saw applied in a community I helped recently:
- The community leader gave personal nudges and human reminders for events and opportunities, along with a clear path for them to contribute.
- He asked openly if they still had the bandwidth to engage with your MVE, and acknowledged that they could re-engage at any time if they don't right now.
- If they still failed below the MVE, they set a conversation 1:1, explained the next step & analyzed the reasons for their non-engagement.
- In the following weeks, the community leader checked in regularly with them, maintained the relationship, and made them feel wanted, to finally re-engaged them when inactive members expressed the desire to come back.
I noticed that creating seasons/cycles makes the whole re-onboarding process easier and more understandable for members.
Encouraging and incentivizing members to opt back in every cycle proactively reinforces what it means to be a member, whether financial or social, and it also means members can make space and show up to contribute where it fits their area of expertise.
With seasons, there's a clear context for those who are optionally off-boarded to re-onboard in an active decision at a time that suits their bandwidth.
That's why today, I usually encourage the communities I help to create an NFT membership (only valid for one season) that grants access to their community's Discord. With this membership system, access is automatically removed to members who haven't proactively opted back in at the end of the season, ensuring a community of only active contributors. (Inactive members still keep their reputation through their NFT, they simply lose the utilities that come with it).
And that’s it for this Concept Thursdays’ edition!
In one quick article, you have everything you need to get in your community the best and most engaged contributors.
Here's a quick recap:
- Define a minimum viable expectation
- Let contributors cultivate their own sub-communities.
- Build a re-onboarding framework (through seasons potentially)
I hope these tips are helpful as you continue your community-building journey!
Chat next Monday!
– Eliot Couvat (@CDTEliot)