Best Practices for Managing an Online Community


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Best practices and examples of how to build and manage an online community for a nonprofit organization.

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  • Intro of self:Started our new media efforts around 1 ½ agoBlog: www.connectioncafe.comNow manage all online presences Convio – online marketing, fundraising and advocacy with Common GroundImportant to tie together all of these aspects when embarking on the creation of a community so that your organization can make the most out of your technology and the experience you provide to your constituents
  • -this is not just a socially enabled site like Facebook or Myspace but rather an entire site dedicated to functionality and content on one topicAt the end of the day, a community also helps nonprofits specifically by allowing them to achieve their organizational mission in a number of possible ways:--recruiting new supporters--building awareness around programs--mobilizing activists--possibly even raising funds
  • -Differentiates itself from social networks and socially enabled sites by adding an extremely high level of functionality-All of the these allow for a greater level of constituent empowerment by enabling supporters to create their own content, network, share with friends and provide open feedback
  • -All these webby buzzwords are key to a thriving community -This is NOT a one-way communication model, but rather the creator of the community may actually have the least interaction in some waysOnline, two-way communications that allows for heightened participation and engagement
  • These are some of the key questions your organization should ask when considering a community or planning for launch
  • -This is a group that has very specific common interests and understanding about their audience-Everything in the community can cater to this tight-knit group of people who have very specific commonalities and interests that are unique to their organization Other examples might include:An alumni page for a college or university An association/organization  teachers, real estate agents, musicians Think reserve association, etc.
  • -Examples might include Health and religious organizations who want to create a “safe place” for their supporters to gather and share information-These are topics that supporters might not be discussing or feel comfortable opening participating in a dialogue in a more public setting
  • For groups that have extremely passionate supporters a community helps provide them with an outlet to discuss, share and help each other – and your organizationFrom this, you can:Help provide useful information and ways they can support your organizationLearn from your most active constituents what’s most important to them and how you can best communicate with them to take action
  • Think of all the various elements you can leverage in a social network but added together to create an entire site that allows for maximum interaction/empowerment of your constituents….and everything on the site supports you organizational mission and goals!
  • Also suggest looking at blogs/sites such’s Social Organization by Rachel Happe-New site: Socialbrite
  • Best Practices for Managing an Online Community

    1. 1. Building and Managing a Community<br />Jordan Viator, Convio<br />
    2. 2. An interactive group of people joined together by a common interest<br />What is an online community?<br />
    3. 3. Profiles<br />Discussion Threads<br />Groups <br />Events<br />Tagging<br />Widgets<br />Blogs<br />Multimedia<br />Ratings<br />Elements of an Online Community<br />
    4. 4. Openness and transparency<br />Trust<br />An organization that truly listens<br />Active engagement<br />Welcoming new members with open arms<br />Being open to feedback and responses (yes, even the negative ones)<br />What makes a community thrive?<br />
    5. 5. What do you want to achieve with your community?<br />What resources do you have to leverage?<br />What is your strategy for the community and how does it fit into your overall communications strategy?<br />Who is your audience and what will THEY get from being a part of your community?<br />How much time are you willing to spend nurturing this?<br />“If you build it they will come” attitude <br />does not work here<br />Where to start: Strategy<br />
    6. 6. 1. A well-defined audience or tight-knit group<br />Why choose to build your own community?<br />
    7. 7. 2. Sensitive Topics<br />Why choose to build your own community?<br />
    8. 8. 3. Passionate Supporters<br />Why choose to build your own community?<br />
    9. 9. Why choose to build your own community?<br />Login<br />4. Specific Functionality <br />Interactivity<br />Profiles<br />Take Action<br />Events<br />
    10. 10. Integration with other online entities<br />Website<br />Other social media: Facebook, Twitter, etc<br />Email campaigns<br />Direct Mail<br />In-person events<br />Essentially, every touch point with a constituent is good to help spread the message of your community!<br />Promotion of your community<br />
    11. 11. Focus on the community members<br />Sincerity is of the utmost importance<br />Make it about the people participating, not you<br />Engage with community<br />Treat everyone as an equal<br />Honing in on key skills of:<br />Patience<br />Networking<br />Facilitating<br />Marketing<br />Communication!<br />Principles to live by:<br />
    12. 12. Set expectations about what you can achieve in the community early<br />Have a strong understanding of why you want a community in the first place <br />Define your success metrics<br />Make it about your constituents and provide the tools and information most important to them<br />Be genuine and show a humanistic side in all community efforts<br />Be participatory and responsive<br />Practical Tips for Community Management<br />
    13. 13. Common Knowledge blog<br />Connection Café blog<br />ThePort Blog<br />Common Knowledge Resources library<br />Convio Research<br />ThePort Resources library<br />Resources<br />