The Faith in Crowdsourcing

The church has faith…in crowdsourcing!

As you can see, they did their maths:

The idea with the online vineyard is essentially the same: “many hands make light work.” The twist with crowdsourcing, though, is that when the tasks are chunked into minute-size efforts, more people participate. With more participation, you can have a greater gain in productivity without exhausting the energies of any individual.

Traditional methods versus crowdsourcing methods

(Left) With the traditional model, you hire a few people to do all the work. It can take a long time and be costly. In the crowdsourcing model (right) you make the tasks easy and open up the work to everyone. Because of the simplicity of the tasks, greater numbers of volunteers willingly participate. The work is accomplished faster, and no single individual gets exhausted.

With a body of 14 million Church members, if 1 percent of the membership performs just 5 minutes of service in the Vineyard, this equates to about 4 years of work (assuming one individual working 8 hour days). Increase the percentage to 5 percent, and you have the equivalent of 20 years of work – all done in a short amount of time.

Challenges to Crowdsourcing

Although our members are service-oriented, persuading members to serve in this environment has challenges. Rather than serving side by side with peers, you’re working online in an independent, semi-anonymous way. The larger purpose of what you’re doing may not always be clear. And the tasks may not feel as fulfilling as directly helping someone in need.

Still, the site is new, and the way members feel towards service will probably overcome these obstacles. You can bet that if the tasks involved a more spiritual dimension, such as tagging scriptures, participation would skyrocket.

As they say, it’s difficult to find altruism when nobody is watching!  But I have faith in their experience moving crowds: we will have to check their site in the near future, to see how they tackled this weakness of crowdsourcing.

Check the full story: The Vineyard: The Church’s First Crowdsourcing Site

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