Successful Community Projects

Two ways to launch a new project.

  1. You can set a group of people a hard goal and ask them to work towards it.
  2. You reveal a project you’ve been working on for a long time and ask for people to help.

The problem is only 1% of people tend to help create a project compared with 10% that tend to edit. Almost every successful collective effort requires an individual (or a few individuals) to make a huge number of contributions to get started.

If you want a wiki, a huge database, a successful fundraising effort, a big collaboration on an eBook or whatever, you need to have something huge to show to begin with. Then let people add and edit as they like.

Anyone can set a big goal and tell people what you want. The harder part is showing what you already have and asking people to help.


  1. Joel Rangelle says:

    I think the more fundamentally business concept in your article is change management (as applied to a new community initiative, especially if it’s big or unusual). Change is hard. Change is scary. And change asks people to give up their existing paradigms and structures and embrace something new.

    The bigger the goal, the harder it’s going to get started. I always envision new community initiatives like a boulder. In the beginning, it’s super hard to push and push and push without a lot to show for it. And the people who push are the ones who have the conviction and leadership to see why the boulder / project should be pushed. But as.the boulder starts to roll, it gets easier to celebrate the small wins, milestones, and to bring on more people.

    If you’re approaching a large community initiative, one thing that can help you is to corral your key staff in the beginning. Get their buy-in, get their support, lay out expectations, and get it going.

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