A volunteer effort by Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers has shown it can deliver significant research outcomes rapidly to help tackle COVID-19 . Within two months, CLAIRE ’ s self-organising volunteers delivered the World ’ s first comprehensive curated repository of COVID-19-related datasets useful for drug-repurposing, drafted review papers on the role CT/X-ray scan analysis and robotics could play, and progressed research in other areas . Given the pace required and nature of voluntary efforts, the teams faced a number of challenges . These offer insights in how better to prepare for future volunteer scientific efforts and large scale, data-dependent AI collaborations in general . We offer seven recommendations on how to best leverage such efforts and collaborations in the context of managing future crises.