Three Trends To Note

Some observations from our research.

The first is around 75% of external communities today are based around customer support. These are the ones hosted on large platforms. These have the easiest links to a clear return on investment. Many now refer to these as customer portals. If you include health-related communities this number rises.

The second is that passion (or retention) based communities have moved almost entirely to Facebook pages, groups, or have closed. The communities which encourage people to talk about their passion for the project have largely closed or been shifted to the cheapest platforms supported by a social media manager. These are the furthest removed from ROI.

The third is internal communities based around knowledge sharing and collaboration are thriving and growing. Most organizations are creating internal communities on various platforms to improve how people collaborate.

Consider this in your next career move.


  1. Duncan Field says:

    Hi Richard,

    Can you clarify what you mean by passion/retention based communities? I’m planning a community of practice and would love any input as to whether these are included, and whether we should aim for a simpler/streamlined approach

  2. Richard Millington says:

    My question would be, what is the goal of the community? How does it help
    your business?

  3. Duncan Field says:

    We’re an organization with a wide member base, and we’re building a community of people in the industry to discuss not only best practices, common questions, etc, but also the current climate and upcoming legislative/administrative decisions that could effect everyone.

    We’re in the charity sector, so we’re less concerned with financial return, and more concerned with improving our status in the sector and getting to hear what people really think.

  4. Richard Millington says:

    To follow on from that, if your status increases and you can hear what
    people really think, what will be different?

  5. Duncan Field says:

    There are a few benefits here - some traditional and some not

    • It helps us target our services based on a conversation between our members (and non-members), so that if there is a big issue out there that we don’t know about, we can act quickly to address the need

    • It helps us compete with larger organizations that aren’t limited to our demographic (we’re a specialized group of charities) by hosting the conversation

    • Part of our mandate is pushing people forward. This involves challenging organizations to get involved and progress the INDUSTRY, not just their organizations. There’s a threat of stagnation and simply surviving in the charity world, and we’re hoping to push people to excel beyond that point. This doesn’t benefit us in terms of traditional ROI, but accomplishes a broader mission, which is part of our strategy

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