How to Care for Your Community

Photo by qthomasbower

One thing that we learned from the Koman debacle is that the best way to deal with a media crisis it to simply be prepared for one. And the best way to prepare for a crisis online is to have a strong, vibrant network who can help protect your organization.

What are the goals of your community?

Maybe it’s time to be honest about the goals of your community. Maybe they actually don’t care how much money was raised at the last event. Or how creative the new fundraising campaign is.

Your Reasons Are the Wrong Reasons

If you’re honest enough to admit that the community is more about your organization than the community members, you’re halfway to being healed.

It’s ok. Lots of communities start out with an undisclosed, self-serving agenda.

But think about the communities you’re active in. It’s all about the value you get. Right? Your supporters aren’t any different.

Dust Off Your Listening Ears

Little girl wearing paper "listening ears"
Photo by Nic Lindh

If your community has died, don’t throw in the towel.

Something many people learned from Komen is that one of the best ways to deal with a PR crisis, or any kind of media crisis, is to simply be prepared.

Go back to the prime point–the members–and ask them what they want and what they need.

Ask them what they hoped for when they joined. Sincerely reach out to each person with this question:

“What would make you want to spend an hour a day in this community?”

Listen. Then give it to them.

This will take time. And it will take a lot of hard work.

A successful online community is never about the platform, the software or even list segmentation. It’s about the people.

How do you listen to and care for your community?

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