Not every organization building a community has a clear profit-motive in mind. Many non-profit organizations, for example, define value created by the community as anything that helps the organization to achieve its goals.
This might include:
- Social Return on Investment. Social return is the unique improvement in the lives of the organization’s stakeholders as defined by its mission. This might mean increasing their capacity to handle their challenges, influencing public policy, or taking collective action. Social return is often referred to as the critical metric for all non-profit activities.
- Capacity Building. Capacity building (or community capacity building) is increasing the group’s (or stakeholder’s) ability to handle their environment and achieve their goals. While this term is primarily used for international development, we believe it also applies to all stakeholders. For example, if an organization dedicated to supporting people suffering from cancer helps members feel happier, healthier, or more informed, this is a clear social return. An online community can be created precisely to provide stakeholders with access to better information, emotional support, or collective resources.