For any community organisation, the major issue is usually how to grow membership.
The ultimate aim of most, if not all, community organisations is for people to become physically involved.
Content, or information, should be carefully targeted at the demograpic group(s) of interest.
Whether a person will engage with content may be viewed in a few ways:
- When a person is directly-affected. For example, an elderly person, or family member, losing their free TV licence.
- A local issue. For example, seeing your local doctor's surgery closing.
- A similar situation. For example, seeing children suffer in the same way as you did when you were that age.
- Generally, "That's not right!". For example, when a reasonably well-off person sees a homeless person on the street.
Probably the biggest mistake made when using the internet as a means of promoting an organisation is thinking that social media is the be-all and end-all. On the one hand, when using social media (for example, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), it is very easy to create and publish content. However, there are two main problems:
- Noise. There is so much content, your posts get lost in that noise.
- Vanishing Posts. Posts scroll off the bottom of the screen very, very, fast.
From a community promotion viewpoint, social media channels preach to the converted. Such pages rarely hit three figures, let alone tens-of-thousands. Then they die, usually when the one person maintaining the page moves on.
On the other hand, social media does provide multiple channels to broadcast information cheaply and quickly. But, and it's a big but, social media sites must be viewed only as channels. The purpose of those channels must be to drive people through to websites, built on databases, that can truly engage people with the aims of the organisation.
Initially, building mailing lists of people's interests, and then providing regular updates and information to encourage people to physically engage with the organisation.
If social media is believed to be the "end-result" then that's where you're going wrong :(
A typical community organisation has its rule book and its procedures. It has a core group of activists (usually five or six) that form the management committee and leadership.
It has a couple of dozen, what may be termed, active members that turn up at meetings and support where they can. Then there is the remainder of the membership, and the wider general population that the organisation wants to reach. This is how you do it:
The Core members, the Active members, and the General membership must be encouraged to create content that may be pushed out (over all available channels - including social media) to the general population. The aim being to strengthen the interest of the general membership and to ignite interest in the general population.
Once the content has done its job and got that interest, the hard work starts.
Here is an overview of the Oreddy Technology.