I need help to build a case for devoting resources to community building


(Redante Asuncion-Reed) #1

Greetings all! This is my first post at Feverbee. I am glad to have found this community for community managers!

We want you to tell us what brings you to FeverBee.

Our organization is creating an online community of practice in conjunction with launching a new website. The website and the community will be centered around a tool for education assessment for early childhood education programs. We want programs in country offices worldwide within our organization and external partners who are using or have used the tool to be active members of the community. We would like, eventually, for education experts, practitioners, researchers and policymakers to participate in the community.

What’s the biggest challenge you face?

The biggest challenge we face is this is something new for our department. The department are comprised of education researchers – subject matter experts. They are not well-versed in technology or community management. They brought me in as the only full-time person working on the project and my job is to support growing the community. Their notion is “build it and they will come” which is something I know from experience and reviewing research and best practices in community management is a misconception. My biggest challenge will be to convince my colleagues that we need to do more than just build a platform and invite people to participate. They need to have an active part in participating in the community, executing tactics and strategies to encourage engagement and taking a proactive approach to growing the community. And to be patient about seeing results.

What can others help you with?

The biggest help I need is to be able to craft arguments and cite case studies and other supporting information so I can go to my bosses and make a case for why we need to devote resources and manpower to community building and management, and that they can’t rely on me (a technical administrator and a layperson in the topic area) 100 percent to do everything. As subject matter experts, they have an important role to play to make the community succeed.

Misunderstandings about communities
First time here? Welcome!
(Sarah Hawk) #2

Welcome Redante. Thanks for jumping straight in. You have an awesome name.

Sounds like an amazing project to be a part of. It also sounds like they’re lucky to have you. We can definitely help you to build your argument.

@Todd_Nilson and @richard_millington have spent countless hours putting together case studies of clients that we’ve worked with and will be able to point you in the direction of some that support your case.

(Redante Asuncion-Reed) #3

Many thanks Sarah! Please feel free to point resources my way – I am happy to learn. I am particularly interested in resources which teach community managers how best to communicate with bosses and stakeholders who don’t necessarily speak the language of community managers but have specific goals in mind which may or may not be realistic. Or who may not be aware of how much work, time and manpower it takes to make a community successful and hence the need to allocate proper resources and staffing to the project. Material specific to nonprofit organizations would be fantastic.

(rhogroupee) #4

Hi Redante, nice to meet you! When I saw your post, I immediately thought of the Community Canvas that was recently released: https://community-canvas.org/. It has a lot of material that frames up the conversation specifically in the non-profit side of community. Hope it’s helpful to you!

(Richard Millington) #5

Hi @redante and welcome!

One thing I try to repeatedly tell people is facts aren’t as persuasive as we think they are. Years ago, we worked on projects that built a really powerful, convincing, case with lots of data and examples from elsewhere only to find the recipients still unwilling to take action because they weren’t persuaded.

If you want to get internal support, it’s usually a combination of your own personal relationships with those that will make the decision. You have to build strong relationships first. The data and logic in your argument (this is what you’re doing now). And making a powerful, emotional, argument for people to do this.

Most decisions are driven more by emotion than anything else.

This might help: https://www.feverbee.com/roi/part-three-communicating-value/.

I’d focus a lot on making sure you take the time to go to each stakeholder and find out exactly what would help them, what problems they have, and make sure they feel understood by your first (don’t ask them for anything yet). I’d then built up the data/examples side that most match that.

Then develop the emotional argument. What is the fear or delight in this? What happens if you don’t do it and someone else does? What happens if you can impress your boss by doing this (be subtle here).

I’d look more for analogies for people who don’t speak the language of communities.

Look for images you can put in people’s minds to understand this.

Hope that helps.

(Redante Asuncion-Reed) #6

Thanks very much! Apologies for the very late reply. It got a bit busy in my offline life at work. I appreciate your input!

(Richard Millington) #7

Of course, let us know how it goes. Be awesome to keep tabs on your work.