Preparing Your Community For The Recession

April 1, 2020 ,,Comments Off on Preparing Your Community For The Recession

Communities can adjust to pandemics a lot easier than recessions.

If the pandemic is the earthquake, the coming recession is the tsunami that threatens to wipe out plenty of communities in its path.

The good times are probably over. It’s time to start planning for the significant cuts in the community budget.

This likely means:

  • If your vendor contract is up for renewal, anticipate pressure to move to somewhere cheaper.
  • No resources for further technical development or customisations. If you have bugs in your platform, you have to live with them.
  • Reduction in staff levels managing the community team.
  • No budget for community events and activities.
  • Members upset at a decline in support or inability to solve their problems.
  • Decline in the level of participation.

For example, I’d prepare for three scenarios that might look like as follows:

(remember not to state how the budget cut will be achieved but the impact of that budget cut).

Scenario 1: A budget cut of 25%.

  • Reduction of most junior members in the community team.
  • Thus no time available to host live events/activities and closing ideation.
  • Reduced ability to moderate the community effectively.
  • Inviting members to host their own live events for each other.
  • Requires a communication plan to prepare members for a reduction in their community experience.
  • Inability to do further custom development.
  • No training, consultancy, or event attendance.
  • No salary rises for the community team this year.

Scenario 2: A budget cut of 50%.

  • Reduction of two members of the community team (1 senior, 1 junior)
  • No time for events, ideation, updates to the platform, member giveaways, or support the MVP program with free gifts/rewards.
  • Sharp decline in the ability to effectively moderate the community.
  • A likely 20% to 30% drop in participation from MVPs and thus questions take longer to respond to.
  • No ability to fix any technical bugs or do any custom development of the platform.
  • Likely preparing to move to an inexpensive platform when the contract is up.
  • No training, consultancy, or event attendance.
  • No salary rises for the community team this year (and thus likely to lose members of the community team).

Scenario 3: A budget cut of 75%.

  • Community team is reduced to a single person who spends the majority of their time doing moderation, replying to posts, and responding to questions about the MVP program.
  • Moving to an inexpensive platform at the earliest opportunity (with no budget to migrate posts across).
  • Significant drop in the level of participation from MVPs and increased time to get an answer from the community (which in turn might lead to angry members and more members contacting customer support).
  • No training, consultancy, or event attendance.
  • Likely the remaining staff member will be overwhelmed and soon leave the team to be replaced by someone junior.

None of these scenarios are enjoyable, but if you’re a community strategist these are exactly the kinds of scenarios you should be forecasting and planning for.

It’s easy to do a community strategy when your budget keeps increasing and participation constantly rises. It’s far more difficult (and more valuable) to do it when you expect a budget cut and a sharp drop in activity.

Start planning now.

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