I’m soaking up lots of new information about what it means to be part of the Mozilla community since joining the foundation’s development team two short weeks ago (development as in fundraising, not engineering). It’s like drinking from a firehose. This organization accomplishes a lot and I’m a bit overwhelmed learning about it all. I’ve met quite a few amazing people including new colleagues, makers, engineers and other supporters. Conclusion: I am in the company of greatness.
I’m also really lucky to be among the first to review results from a recent online survey. These data are giving me a tidy crash course in what it means to be a Mozillian – what the community wants and thinks is important.
Roughly six thousand Mozilla supporters took time from their busy lives to send us their thoughts about Mozilla’s work. It has been fascinating and also heartwarming to hear about why Mozilla is such an important community for so many people.
I’ve dropped a few snazzy charts below to sum up the results of the survey. I’ll conclude with my thoughts on how the big themes that emerged can inform our online outreach strategy in the coming months.
So, why do folks support the work of the Mozilla Foundation? A large majority of respondents said keeping the Web free, open, and transparent was by far their #1 reason for supporting Mozilla. This is no surprise when you consider what’s happening in the news lately and the growing skepticism about what corporations are storing and selling about our Internet habits. Following in a distant second place were issues of Web literacy, creativity, and building a better Web.
“I have been a Mozilla user for more than 7 years now, and the main reason is that I feel I can trust Mozilla.” – survey comment
Concern about the security and freedom of the Web continued thematically in responses to this question about recent campaigns:
* Note: Each respondent scored prompts on a scale of 1 – 5 (5 = “very important”). This chart ranks responses based on the total score for each.
Serious threats to the Internet as we know it are top-of-mind for Mozilla’s supporters.
On a different topic, we also asked people who have not donated to tell us why they haven’t gotten around to it yet.
The top response (51%) was “I don’t have the disposable income” to donate right now. This is not unusual for these types of surveys and economic times are still tough for many people. The beauty of Mozilla is that there are so many ways for anyone to get involved, and donating is but one of them. In fact, fully 10% of respondents said “I prefer to volunteer.” This is truly astounding when you consider that there are nonprofits who would kill to have 10% of their email list volunteer. The participatory culture at Mozilla is a big reason it is a special organization.
Another notable finding: 8% said they “didn’t know Mozilla was a non-profit” and 5% said they haven’t donated because they were “unsure how my donation will be used”. Clearly we can do a better job of telling the story of Mozilla so our nonprofit roots are better understood. Individuals invest in all sorts of ways in Mozilla – in Webmaker, Popcorn, Collusion, Stopwatching.us, and more. No matter how small, every donation of time or dollars matters to Mozilla and its mission.
“I contribute my time to Mozilla. That counts, too.” – survey comment
Finally, one very clear finding: Mozilla’s supporters love and covet Mozilla gear.
Would you be interested in supporting Mozilla’s mission through the purchase of high-quality Mozilla-branded gear (such as t-shirts, travel mugs, jackets and other unique offerings)?
To sum up, here are my big takeaways (hopefully I’ve listened well):
- Mozilla supporters believe strongly that the Web is under threat, and it’s worth fighting for. People want to help protect freedom and transparency on the Internet. This is pivotal moment in history for this global issue, and Mozilla is a trusted source of information and leadership in the fight. Threats to the Web should weigh heavily in our online organizing strategy so we can give supporters opportunities to join in the fight.
- Mozilla supporters believe Web literacy and making stuff on the Web is the future of the web (and a free and open web is a prerequisite). The Internet doesn’t have to be passively consumed, anyone can help build something awesome. We want to continue sharing how Mozilla provides opportunities to play, create, join, and learn all over the globe.
- We need to do a better job of telling the (clear, transparent) story of Mozilla. Our nonprofit-iness is sort of fuzzy for many people. We need to take opportunities to be authentic about the kind of organization we are. Mozilla’s story is a compelling story. I want to help every Mozilla supporter know it by heart.
- Donating is one more way to support Mozilla’s work, but we need to articulate where the money goes. What donations pay for should be a point of pride, not a mystery. We’ll work on being clear about how donation funds are allocated (more directly than just linking to the Annual Report). And just because we ask for a donation sometimes by no means suggests volunteerism is not appreciated or important. Let’s be honest: It’s all supporting Mozilla’s mission. We need and love volunteers and event participants. We need donations. Mozilla wouldn’t last long without either.
- Gear = Love. Building a big, loyal community means a lot of people are excited about showing off their allegiance. We don’t want to get between the fans and their #foxschwag. We are working on getting a great gear store up and running with proceeds benefitting the foundation’s work. It’s no easy task (at least if you want to do it right). But a new store is coming. Stay tuned.
- I’m so lucky to have joined this big, amazing community. I’m here to listen, to learn and I intend to build on the good work of my predecessor, Mr. Ben Simon. I hope to develop a great online program that serves Mozilla’s mission.
I want to hear from you — please comment on my posts, message me, ask questions, challenge my assumptions. I look forward to our work together.