Results from the first new members campaign

We did it! We’re welcoming 1,354 new members to the Open Source Initiative. The membership drive we launched at the end of 2021 surpassed our expectations. These new members are mostly “free” members and don’t have voting rights to elect the next board members; however, there is time to become a full member by the next election cycle in March.

Quick facts about the campaign

The campaign was the first of its kind. For starters we introduced a new membership level with a zero cost with the intention to reach out to people who are not able or in a position to pay for membership. We recognize that $40 can be a lot of money in many parts of the world.

The campaign ran on a purpose-built minisite instead of the main site because we needed speed to execute the campaign. Modifying Drupal would have been more complicated. The new members badges proved to be popular: we’re studying ways to make them available inside the member pages as a permanent feature.

Thanks to Plausible.io we tracked results of the campaign without invading users’ privacy. The full results are publicly accessible and a summary is below:

  • 5k unique visitors
  • 54% bounce rate
  • 4k referrals from opensource.org banner!
  • 67% traffic from mobile (28% desktop)
  • 27% overall signup conversion rate
  • 600 unique visitors downloaded the PNG badge (500 downloaded the svg version)
Relative geographic distribution of signups
Trend of visitors for the campaign

A special mention should go to traffic via social media. Lots of people tend to overestimate the effect of promotions on these channels.

Top sources of traffic to campaign minisite

Lessons learned and next steps

The majority of traffic to the campaign was through the website, with social media traffic being quite small by comparison. The impact of social media on promotions like this is often overestimated. Social channels are great for engaging with the community, “reinforcing the brand”, and connecting with “influencers”: basically, social media helps make people aware that we exist, but isn’t a particularly effective tool to convince them to take an action. Therefore, we’ll emphasize our website for future promotions, and social media channels will continue to be a part of the promotional mix, but not the primary focus.

As for next steps, our next campaign will be focused on encouraging our new free members to convert to voting members so that everyone's voice can be heard. Our next election is in March 2022. Stay tuned for more.

To promote and protect open source software and communities...

For over 20 years the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has worked to raise awareness and adoption of open source software, and build bridges between open source communities of practice. As a global non-profit, the OSI champions software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition (OSD), and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement.

Open source software is made by many people and distributed under an OSD-compliant license which grants all the rights to use, study, change, and share the software in modified and unmodified form. Software freedom is essential to enabling community development of open source software.