The Commitment Curve is an excellent tool for modeling how to ramp up people from low-barrier-to-entry actions to increasingly difficult ones. The idea is to move your members from lower investment/lower reward actions (like completing their profile) to higher investment/higher reward ones (like attending an event) that yield higher levels of commitment. It’s a tool used by some activists to rapidly build and mobilize large numbers of people to create social change. I explain how it works here.

In short, it can also be used to ensure your user experience doesn’t ask too much, too early of the user (like being asked to run an event immediately you’ve attended your first). Instead, the idea is to ramp the user up escalating levels of commitment by making ‘asks’ of increasing-but appropriate-levels of investment of time, energy and emotion.

Here’s the List of Community Features plotted on The Commitment Curve. You can debate which ‘ask’ demands more or less investment by the user- like making a blog post vs. attending an event. But you get the general idea. The point is, if you’re going to ask people to show up to events, you might want to ask them to do things lower down on the curve first (like participating in a forum) that demand less investment before the bigger ask (but higher reward) of attending an event.

The other thing to bear in mind is that lower investment actions tend to predispose people to make higher investment actions. Because they literally become more invested in the community and are inclined to do more, especially when asked.

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