Open Source merely depends upon the contributions and volunteering work. So communities find hard to hold their contributors sustain with the community and keep them encouraged of their work but somehow they likely lose some of their potential contributors in their communities. This is the major problem I could see communities have been suffering to help their contributors sustain with the community. My experience denotes that most of the contributors ( be it the designer, developer, Tester, etc ) are either college students or young contributors. So their main motive remains to learn, work, and grow.
So some recognition given to them is the great key to help them sustain with the community. Recognition can be like building some “program” with combining some of the recognized organizations/communities who are working great in the field of open source like, Google, Microsoft, GitHub, etc and helping contributors give appreciation/LOR letters which can be used by them to be motivated and grow more. Other factors can be funding support. Some bounty programs can also help them be encouraged and self-motivated to sustain with the community.
Here is the example; Google Open Source Peer Bonus Program can be a great inspiration for this program. So the program I initiated above can be built up by dividing into various parts like:
- Stage 1: Giving contributors LOR/appreciation letters based on some contribution and some kind of targets.
- Stage 2: Supporting them with bounty programs
- Stage 3: inviting/Giving away scholarships to them to speak at conferences, events, and meetups to speak about their projects or contributions
- Stage 4: Asking them to lead projects
These things can be represented and worked out by having a common platform with better UX and information regarding this project.
I am sure it can be a bit time taking but can be fruitful in open source sustainable environment. Feel free to share your views.