Daily Buzz: Create an Online Community Leader Program

A successful online community launch starts with engagement. To get members motivated, recruit community leaders. Also: what keeps young professionals engaged in your association.

An online community can be a helpful engagement tool, but just launching it doesn’t initiate success. It’s also requires a lot of preparation and a well-thought-out strategy. So, what do you do?

“First, it’s a good idea to remind everyone that the community is built for them—and to cultivate a thriving online exchange, it requires participation and collective ownership,” says Susan Cato on Community by Association. “Inspiring this type of engagement is always tricky at first, but if you try hard enough and have a good plan and strategy in place, you will be able to find a few motivated individuals to help get things going.”

One way to do it: Recruit community leaders to lead and monitor discussions or contribute content.

“The key is to make sure the opportunity and time investment is clear—and provide tangible benefits such as public recognition and increased visibility as a leader,” Cato says. “To help move this along, write a position description for community leaders, create a group for them, have regular calls and brainstorming sessions, [and] formalize a community leader program.”

What Young Professionals Value Most

Engaging young professionals starts with community, says Jeanette Gass, a young professional herself, on Association Success. “This includes being able to make personal connections, use available programs and services to fill gaps in our professional development, and contribute to the association’s advancement,” she says.

To provide this type of member experience, Gass recommends emphasizing in-person interactions, including peer-to-peer learning opportunities for career development.

Another idea: Invite young professionals to volunteer—and not just on the young professionals committee.

“Having the ability to participate in association operations and contribute to organizational advancement creates a sense of belonging and want to continue membership,” Gass says. “Creating young professional-specific seats on committees or having a willingness-to-serve form letting association staff know who is interested in volunteering when ad hoc opportunities are available are two ways to bring young professionals into the mix.”

Other Links of Note

To increase volunteers and improve their experience, you have to understand why they give their time. The VolunteerMatch blog outlines the motivation behind volunteering.

Are you suffering from “Nonprofit Founder’s Syndrome”? The Bloomerang blog has the cure.

If you’re looking for meaningful work, stop. It’s not something you find, it’s something you have to create, says Fast Company.

(AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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