Community Building Begins with Community Organizing


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Building a great online community relies on the principles of community organizing. Tactics for community-building, case studies of how to build long-term online communities, and build communities around campaigns. Presented at NCVS 2011.

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  • The next step is finding the sweet spot. To do that, you first identify what your community wants to do – what it is coming together around, whether it’s an event, an action, or a movement. Next, identify what you want to do, what your organizational goals are. Those two “wants to do” will overlap and that gray area is the sweet spot. It’s important to remember that not everything your organization wants to do or achieve, matches up with with your community wants to do, and vice versa. The key is that that’s okay! Maybe you provide services, and your community doesn’t want to be providing those services, but they are happy you are doing so. And maybe the community wants to endorse a specific candidate, and your organization doesn’t. But both the community and your organization want to see certain laws passed, things improved, programs created or groups supported. That’s the sweet spot where you can count on focusing CDSI energy.
  • Transparent in goals, activities, membership, successes, challenges, issues within the community
  • This means don't build it in secret and then "launch" it - regardless of whether it’s an online space, a program or a campaign. If it is really something that is coming from the community, you can’t just take the idea and run; you’ll want to co-create it from idea to implementation.
  • lead by example: interact with the community the way you want other organizations and the community members to do. It’s like the golden rule for community engagement. I like this picture for this point because often mother ducks will bring up the rear, supporting the ducklings and swimming along side them, instead of shooting ahead and expecting them to keep up.
  • Leverage the power of the online communities and networks, such as with Tweetsgiving. Highlight the work of the community on the home page of the campaign or website.
  • Leverage the power of the online communities and networks, such as with Tweetsgiving. Highlight the work of the community on the home page of the campaign or website.
  • Striving to be replaced can be a tough one for most everyone. It isn’t exactly in our nature but it is key to the ethos of a community builder. One way to work on supporting your community to not need you managing the program, platform, or whatever else is to encourage interaction without you. This touches back on letting the community know itself. If you’re making connections and supporting conversations across the network, you’re helping the community create strong ties that will not require your time and energy to maintain.
  • Striving to be replaced also means rewarding and spotlighting leaders. Positive reinforcement is one of the best leadership development practices you can build into your work across the board, whether it’s online or offline, on your facebook page, newsletter, annual fundraiser or neighborhood events.
  • Lastly, the only way you can really operate in a way that prepares your community to take over for you is to share your toolbox. This is a lot like operating in public but that you are sharing the tools you use and the strategies you use. You can model behavior all you want but if no one can tell what tools you are using to be so successful, there’s no way they can jump in and help man the ship.
  • Knowing your community. Part of doing this well is letting your community know itself. That means don't take credit where it isn't yours, highlight the leaders and contributors in the community, and making connections across the network. It also means letting community members connect directly with one another, without going through you.
  • Knowing your community also means knowing your role in the ecosystem. It’s important, as I mentioned earlier in the strategy steps, to identify what your role or roles are as the organization and stick to them. Once you start spreading out, you squeeze out room for others to grow and develop or even to explore what’s possible. Not to mention create far more for yourself!
  • Knowing your community also means you help it grow. Sometimes that means making mistakes. Hopefully they are tiny and harmless, and that you’re there to learn alongside the community. But, it’s just to say that you are in it just like the community is, and not everything we try in life works smoothly. Instead, design for growth and sustainability from the start with lots of room for feedback, evaluation and iterations to continue developing and redeveloping. The best time to fail is early and openly – that way you can learn and build to move forward.
  • Shared goals: make a difference in your community
  • Roles, help it grow
  • Help it grow
  • Community Building Begins with Community Organizing

    1. 1. Community Building begins with Community Organizing<br />Amy Sample Ward, NTEN<br />Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0<br />
    2. 2. Welcome!<br />Amy Sample Ward <br />@amyrsward<br /><br /><br />Debra Askanase <br />@askdebra<br /><br />
    3. 3. Agenda<br />5 Principles of Community Organizing<br />Principles in Action: Short-Term Community Building<br />Principles in Action: Long-Term Community Building<br />Discussion and Shared Learning<br />
    4. 4. Five community organizing principles<br />Focus on shared goals and shared ownership<br />Be transparent<br />Go where the people are<br />Cultivate leaders<br />Know your community<br />
    5. 5. 1.<br />Focus on shared goals and shared ownership<br /><br />
    6. 6. Where’s the sweet spot?<br />
    7. 7. 2.<br />Be transparent<br /><br />
    8. 8. No short cuts<br />
    9. 9. No short cuts<br />
    10. 10. 3.<br />Go where the people are<br /><br />
    11. 11.
    12. 12. Be active in the community<br /><br />
    13. 13. Be active in the community<br /><br />Tweetsgiving 2010<br />
    14. 14. Be active in the community<br /><br />
    15. 15. Who’s your community?<br />
    16. 16. 4.<br />Cultivate leaders<br />
    17. 17. Strive to be replaced<br />
    18. 18. Strive to be replaced: spotlight leaders<br />
    19. 19. Strive to be replaced: share your toolbox<br />
    20. 20. 5.<br />Know your community<br /><br />
    21. 21. Know your community: help them know themselves<br />
    22. 22. Know your community: roles<br />
    23. 23. Know your community: help it grow<br />
    24. 24. Principles in Action<br />
    25. 25. Principles in Action: a short-term campaign<br />Follow the Leader, part of the “Get Hands On” series of online campaigns<br />Goals: <br />To inspire people to become involved in community service<br />Asking the people who have been identified as service leaders to lead volunteer projects in their communities – greater commitment<br />
    26. 26. Shared goals and ownership<br />
    27. 27. Shared goals and ownership<br /><br />
    28. 28. Transparency<br /><br />
    29. 29. Go where the people are<br /><br />
    30. 30. Leadership development<br /><br />
    31. 31. Leadership development<br /><br />
    32. 32. Know your community<br /><br />
    33. 33. Know your community<br /><br />
    34. 34. Principles in Action: building a community prior to the campaign<br />To Mama With Love 2011<br />Goals:<br />Raise money for Epic Change<br />Create a community to support a fundraising campaign and Epic Change long-term <br />
    35. 35. Shared goals and ownership<br />
    36. 36. Shared goals and ownership<br />
    37. 37. Shared goals and ownership<br />
    38. 38. Transparency<br />
    39. 39. Transparency<br />
    40. 40. Go where the people are<br />
    41. 41. Leadership development<br />
    42. 42. Know your community<br />
    43. 43. Know your community<br />
    44. 44. Principles in Action: a long-term community building<br /><br />Goal: <br />To build a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis.<br />Create opportunities for grassroots efforts, local communities, and individuals to take action and advocate for climate policy and change<br />
    45. 45. Shared goals and ownership<br />
    46. 46. Transparency<br />
    47. 47. Go where the people are<br />
    48. 48. Leadership development<br />
    49. 49. Know your community<br />
    50. 50. Principles in Action: community building in real-time<br />Chain Reaction<br />Goal: <br />The Chain Reaction Networks helps individuals and organisations to connect together.<br />Create offline and online opportunities to bring individuals, organizations, governments, etc. together to make more lasting collaborations for change<br />
    51. 51. Shared goals and ownership<br />
    52. 52. Transparency<br />
    53. 53. Go where the people are<br />
    54. 54. Leadership development<br />
    55. 55. Know your community<br />
    56. 56. Questions? <br /><br />
    57. 57. Discussion and shared learning<br />Focus on shared goals and shared ownership<br />Be transparent<br />Go where the people are<br />Cultivate leaders<br />Know your community<br />
    58. 58. Resources and links<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
    59. 59. Image credits<br />Slide 5:<br />Slide 7:<br />Slide 8:<br />Slide 9:<br />Slide 10:<br />Slide 11:<br />Slide 15:<br />Slide 16: <br />Slide 17:<br />Slide 18:<br />Slide 19:<br />Slide 20:<br />Slide 21:<br />Slide 22:<br />Slide 23:<br />Slide 24:<br />Slide 57:<br />
    60. 60. Thank you!<br />Amy Sample Ward, NTEN <br /><br /><br />Also<br /><br /><br />Twitter: @amyrsward<br />Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0<br /><br /><br />Twitter: @askdebra<br />