Community is being used in an unexpected way

We’ve launched our community which was created for people to share tips and tricks about fundraising, but we’ve found people using it differently than intended. For some background, we did do research to ask customers what type of community they would find useful, so the result was dictated by them.

So far, the few people who have participated have used the forum to advertise their fundraisers to ask for shares or donations, rather than asking for help on the fundraiser itself. The other type of post we’ve seen is people who are desperate for help, but haven’t created a fundraiser. These types of posts are hard to respond to, since you can tell people are in a bad place and need a lot of help, outside of just fundraising.

Both of these sorts of requests are likely to be engagement killers in different ways. The former comes across like spam, the latter is intimidating.

My question to you is if you see people using the community in a way that kills the community, does that mean the original community plan was likely flawed or misguided, or does that mean we need to get a lot firmer with our moderation?


I think it depends. Are people using the community for dual purposes, or is it not being used at all for the intended focus?

If the way the community is being used has potential value, then I’d create a new category/sub-forum for those discussions to live in within the wider community.

If no one is using it as intended then it’s possible that either you’re not reaching the right audience or that (as you suggest) the focus is off.

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Thanks @HAWK !

Hi Juliet

I don’t think it’s a sign that the plan was flawed but it does indicate that the site messaging and behavioural norms may be a bit off. It’s likely that your intended audience is smaller and more niche than the audience you’re attracting. You could address this by having really clear messaging on site and maybe seeding some content (either yourself or with some community members that you have a good relationship with) that looks like the sort of stuff you want to see. You can also add to the community T&Cs what you DON’T want to see in the community.

I agree that sub-categories would be a good way to organise things, but ultimately, if people aren’t able to get what they’re looking for (and I’m thinking specifically about your heartbreaking posters) the community will be visibly unhelpful, which isn’t great. If you let them use the community this way you may want to see if you can find ways to help - by having resources or regular AMAs, a list of questions that you’ve replied to with useful information - anything that’s helpful and straightforward.

Best of luck.


Thanks for your reply! @egale

@jdeamicis wandering if you have stated your purpose clearly enough in your community and in your community promotion. Try to educate your members and remove/cover the unwanted adv with public explanation.