Reviving your online community

We’re pleased to have a guest post by John Haydon from Inbound Zombie,  a social media strategy firm helping non-profits build communities and increase awareness online. Read more from John at
If your organisation has an online community, you probably spent hundreds of hours planning it and thousands of pounds building it. And before that, you had countless discussions about whether or not to even build an online community.

So when asked “Do people really need your online community?”, the answer is most likely a resounding “YES!”

Community Crisis

But what if you’re not sure anymore?

What if you just theorized that people would need an online commmunity, but now that it’s gone live, it’s actually dead?

Maybe it’s time to be honest about the goals of the community. Maybe they actually don’t care how much money was raised at the last event. Or how creative the new fundraising campaign is.

Your Reasons Are The Wrong Reasons

If you’re honest enough to admit that the community is more about your organisation than the community members, you’re half-way to being healed.

It’s ok. Lots of communities start out with an undisclosed, self-serving agenda.

But think about the communities you’re active in. It’s all about the value you get. Right? Your members aren’t any different.

Dust Off Your Listening Ears

If your community has died, don’t throw in the towel. Not yet anyhow.

Instead, go back to the prime point – the members – and ask them what they want and what they need.

Ask them what they hoped for when they joined. Sincerely reach out to each person with this question: “What would make you want to spend an hour a day in this community?”

Then listen. Then give it to them.

This will take time. And it will take a lot of hard work.

A successful online community is never about the platform, the software or the automated friend requests. It’s about the people.

Have you revived a community? How?