Commu­nity manage­ment in the phil­an­thropy sector

Eight tips for successfully managing a digital community.

Commu­nity manage­ment is an incre­a­singly widespread prac­tice among all kinds of commu­nities. In simple terms, it means provi­ding direc­tion and support for a virtual commu­nity. Global digi­ta­li­sa­tion, the growth of social networks and the incre­a­sed inte­rest in chari­ta­ble acti­vi­ties – further driven by the recent COVID-19 situa­tion – have resul­ted in more dyna­mic forms of digi­tal inter­ac­tion. Popu­lar social media plat­forms enable close dialo­gue among commu­nity members. What does success­ful commu­nity manage­ment entail? How can commu­nity network infra­st­ruc­ture be estab­lished and key commo­na­li­ties conveyed? In addi­tion to stead­fast commit­ment, the follo­wing eight tips will help create a thri­ving community:

Know what you want

Estab­lish your commu­nity stra­tegy right from the start. This can include, e.g. awareness targets, finding digi­tal touch­points, incre­a­sing infor­ma­tion exchange or grea­ter custo­mer loyalty. 

Provide resour­ces

Make sure you provide suffi­ci­ent resour­ces – whether for crea­ting content or for active mode­ra­tion by a dedi­ca­ted ‘commu­nity manager’.

Keep lear­ning

Active listening will help you find out more about the atti­tu­des of your commu­nity members. Take feed­back on board and conti­nue lear­ning from nega­tive or criti­cal posts – this can help you nip issues in the bud before they escalate.

Set rules

Estab­lish rules for commu­ni­ca­tion among commu­nity members and formu­late a commu­nity netiquette. 

Content is king 

Disco­ver the topics and trends that your commu­nity really cares about. The choice of images, state­ments and hash­tags should always reflect the organisation’s chari­ta­ble princi­ples. Be clear, trans­pa­rent and consi­stent in your commu­ni­ca­tion. Provi­ding a photo and details for the appro­priate point of contact always incre­a­ses people’s trust. 

Show empa­thy

Show true dedi­ca­tion and be genuine. Let your commu­nity know that you have under­s­tood them. If you’ve said you’ll do some­thing, do it. Take frequently asked questi­ons seriously, follow them up and clarify them. 

Stay on the ball

Online commu­nities are fast-moving. Don’t just wait for your follo­wers to post – actively seek inter­ac­tion with your commu­nity. Address rele­vant topics and be spon­ta­ne­ous. Keep your commu­nity happy by provi­ding timely, proac­tive responses. 

Moni­to­ring 

Main­tain an over­view to make sure you are always one step ahead of a poten­tial crisis. Key perfor­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) such as orga­nic reach, number of posts, number of video views, number of follo­wers and conver­sion rates are good for quan­ti­ta­tive analy­sis, but they are not a substi­tute for quali­ta­tive evalua­tions such as satis­fac­tion surveys to gauge the gene­ral feeling among users. 

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