Research on crowdsourcing: how to attract and engage volunteers online?

Crowdsourcing, or harnessing the power of volunteers online, has become increasingly popular. Especially among public libraries, museums, archives and research institutions. However, attracting volunteers and keeping them engaged is often challenging for project managers.

The article “Behind the Crowdsourcing Platform: Assessing Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement Instruments” analyzes the effectiveness of recruiting and engagement instruments on volunteers’ activity. The article by Montserrat Prats López, Auke Rijpma, Tine De Moor, and Jolien Reijerink is published in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and can be found here.

The authors used a mixed-method approach, combining insightful interviews with project managers and quantitative data from, a prominent Dutch crowdsourcing platform.

The research shows that crowdsourcing projects benefit from being part of a platform with similar initiatives because of the higher activity of experienced participants. The study also identifies timely communication and efficient quality checks as the cornerstones of success, which both demand careful allocation of project management resources. The research also suggests that material rewards are less important for volunteer engagement than the intrinsic motivation of a point-based reward system, while the effectiveness of engagement instruments depends on their timely enactment.