In the past few weeks I’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm and activity on the Campus Campaign from hundreds of people all over the world. At the same time I’ve heard some confusion about what the Take Back The Web Campaign is and isn’t and what the relationship is to the existing FSA Program.
I’m hoping this post can help clarify some things, and I’m excited to share the hypotheses we’re testing in this campaign. I also hope that this post will fuel a continued conversation and follow-up questions out in the open for everyone to follow.
What the Campaign Is:
- An experiment - The current Take Back The Web Campaign is a short six-week long pilot to learn about what a “campaign” format could look like on campuses. We’re aimed at testing enthusiasm for this campaign framing on campuses, and learning about what works, what doesn’t work and what can be achieved by mobilizing students around the world around a single theme and set of impact areas.
- Open to all students - The first cohort of the campaign was open for every student who wanted to form a team and we accepted every team who submitted a full application including many Firefox Student Ambassadors (FSAs), Regional Ambassador Leads of the FSA program (RALs), and newcomers. Our goal was and is to include as many students as possible!I’ll note here that RALs were not automatically added as Local Coaches due to limited spots, many applicants and a desire to test out onboarding newer people (for example, some professors are local coaches) into campaign coaching roles.
- The start of a discussion about the future of Mozilla on campus - What is learned through the campaign will help guide the discussion about how to connect the many existing programs Mozilla has (FSA, Mozilla Clubs, Reps, Regional Communities, etc etc etc) and think about what Mozilla’s presence on campuses will look like in the future. We will share more in the coming days about the process of having this conversation about the future of Mozilla on campuses around the world.
What the Campaign Is Not:
- A new student program- The campaign is not designed to be a program, but rather is intentionally being run as a fixed-term campaign open to people already in existing Mozilla programs including FSAs (and those new to Mozilla) from which we will learn about mobilizing students.
- Replacing the FSA program - While what is learned in this phase will help inform and shape the future of Mozilla on Campuses it is not a replacement for the FSA program.
- The same as the FSA program - While the existing FSA program does have some similarities to the existing campaign we wanted to test a structure built from the ground-up as a free-standing campaign open to all, on a fixed time-frame and with a different set of structures and rewards than the current FSA program.
- A one-time thing - While Phase 1 will end in June, we will immediately start planning for a larger and more involved version of the campaign for the start of the school year. In this we’ll take learnings from Phase 1 and dive more deeply on them to better understand what can be accomplished through a campaign format.
What we’re testing & learning about:
As we think about the future of the campaign and Mozilla on campuses, we want to understand the potential and possibilities of many different organizing models and structures. In running Phase 1 of the Campus Campaign our primary goal was to test a series of hypotheses about how to best engage students from around the world. We’re being quite scientific about this – hypothesis-how we’re testing-evaluation-synthesize lessons.
Here are some of the hypotheses we are testing:
- Having an involved application/selection process will encourage higher levels of sustained engagement - We asked people to go through an involved application process with the hypothesis that this would discourage less engaged people and leave us with teams and individuals who were serious about their level of commitment and interest.
- Actively recruiting people outside of Mozilla’s current community will introduce us to new people with diverse skills & experiences - We actively encouraged applications from anyone with an interest and passion for privacy and security, and prioritized finding people with skills and passions relevant to the campaign (especially local coaches) regardless of whether or not they had participated with Mozilla in the past.
- A highly systematized accountability and reporting structure will help us get a real-time picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign - We spent time to shape a detailed set of campaign goals linked to tailored activities we know students could take and that have a theory of how they contribute to impact on Mozilla’s mission. Every week we ask teams to submit a form detailing their activities from the week, and every week each Local Coach meets with their teams and shares successes and issues from the week with their staff mentor. We sit down with this data as a campaign team each week to talk about what’s working and what’s not and adjust plans/actions accordingly.
- Sending new materials out to campus teams on a weekly basis will create a habit of learning - By sending out new materials in a series of formats (blogs, videos, slides, articles) each week, teams will be able to learn and build their skills throughout the campaign and end up with a variety of skills pertaining to organizing, teaching and building.
- Working closely with experts to design high quality content that is accurate and well designed will help students further their impact We worked closely with the Privacy & Advocacy Teams as well as educational and technical experts to create resources and programs that are well designed and help drive Mozilla’s mission forward.
- A layered coaching structure with weekly engagement can empower and better support student teams and individuals - Having a designated coach who also has designated staff support and is encouraged to connect weekly with campus teams creates a network of individuals each of whom has a network of peers and a source of advice, resources and support.
- The campaign activities can have impact in a diverse set of contribution areas that are outside of Mozilla’s traditional contribution areas - We looked outside of Mozilla’s traditional contribution areas to hone in on areas where students could have particular impact, and where widespread local contribution was most needed.
- Creating a technical challenge that allowed for feedback at the ideation stage would facilitate the production of higher quality prototypes - We asked Campus Teams to submit ideas ideas via GitHub and recruited a team of 20 experts from inside Mozilla to provide feedback on the ideas in order to help those teams produce higher quality prototypes.
- A program that emphasized opportunities for learning and impact over swag could be successful within the community - By focusing our resources on delivering educational resources and a strong support system, instead of swag, we hoped to attract and retain a strong core of motivated Mozillians.
- Encouraging people to do activities and be recognized in small teams (instead of as individuals) would increase the quality and impact of the campaign. By asking people to apply in small teams we wanted to create agile groups of individuals with a variety of skills who could tackle a number of different and complex problems on their campus.
We will continue to share new updates about the campaign over the course of the coming weeks, at the end of which we will be providing a report summarizing the results of our Phase 1 experiments. We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and questions about the campaign in the comments below.
I have one final ask – if you see people having conversations about this in other places (Telegram, Facebook, email, etc), please encourage them to head over to this post to have the conversation where everyone can see and weigh in.
Lucy & the Campus Campaign Team