Almost all of SSW’s contributors are volunteers, which makes it imperative to maintain high levels of contributor engagement and retention. The contributor dashboard is intended to accomplish this by enhancing the contributor experience through building a centralized system for onboarding volunteers more quickly, editing and submitting pitches, exchanging feedback quickly, allowing volunteers to pick-up pending assignments, and tracking contributions. Furthermore, we are focusing on adding visualizations that can help admins when they apply for funding for SSW.
People who are interested in becoming contributors can easily sign up, provide basic information, and indicate their preferred involvement at SSW.
Guidance through dashboard
Newly onboarded users can quickly understand the architecture of the dashboard from reviewable pop-ups that guide them through every page.
Contributors can easily submit detailed pitch ideas with relevant tags and links for admin review.
Contributors can find pitches with open positions for the team(s) that they are on and request staff approval to claim the pitch.
Review & Approval
Admin can review and approve or reject pitches, while staff can approve or reject pending pitch claims from contributors.
Users can easily find other users and see their positions and interests. By providing a directory, finding other SSW members is both centralized and simple.
Users have a simple, customizable profile within the dashboard and can view other profiles to learn about fellow contributors.
Users can view helpful resources, such as onboarding docs and contribution guidelines that are relevant to their role.
Here are some of the features that our team will be prioritizing this fall as we look to enhance the capabilities of and polish the dashboard.
Visualizations of contributor demographics for staff
Staff have mentioned that providing demographic information is useful when applying for grants. Being able to leverage detailed visualizations can result in a smoother grant application process and more funding.
Staff notifications when a previously active contributor becomes inactive on the dashboard
Automatically sending staff notifications when an active contributor has not logged into the dashboard makes it easier for staff to check-in on contributors and maintain higher contributor retention.
Visualizations of progress on stories for the upcoming SSW issue and celebratory pop-ups
One of the main ways that the contributor experience can be improved is through an additional layer of transparency via easily accessible updates. In addition, celebrating contributors’ wins, like when they submit a pitch, shows SSW’s appreciation for their work.
Currently, SSW is unique because most of its contributors are volunteers. The news industry is anticipating that more news nonprofits will shift to a similar model in the coming years. Thus, if we are able to extend this dashboard so that other news nonprofits can use it, we will have a broader impact.