The Problem With Communities Of Action

April 11, 2014Comments Off on The Problem With Communities Of Action

…is we're not sure what the action will be.

If you're developing a community of action, you need to know the rules of the game you're playing. This is how you determine the action. 

Several years ago, we collected over 700,000 signatures in a digital petition to hand to Ban Ki-moon at a meeting to determine the level of funding to end mother to child transmission of HIV.  

We knew the action required, we knew when the decisions were made, we need what had to be achieved by when. Funding increased by $2bn.  

Recently, someone proposed building a community of action to gain support to build a significant infrastructure project in the name of stakeholders. The action, he declared, would be to lobby government. 

But how? How will the government even know you exist? 

Do you want members to write letters to government officials? Call government officials on a specific day? Vote on a particular issue? Stage demonstrations? Invite key government officials to dinner? Write to their media contacts for coverage?

What, specifically, do you want the audience to do? 

Once you know the specific action you need from members, it's easier to be direct in what you need. This makes it more exciting to participate in that community. It makes it more likely you will get the results you want. 

The first step in a community of action is to identify the specific action that will have the more effect. It's probably not anything vague like advocacy, clicking like, or 'sharing' content. It's probably identifying the decision makers, identifying what influences their decision, and targeting the moment when they make that decision. 


If you want to master the social science approach to building successful communities, sign up for our Professional Community Management course.

Registration is open now. The course begins on April 28th

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