Now that more and more associations have been using online communities for a few years, there comes a time when you outgrow your online community and need to graduate to a full membership engagement platform.
I was recently selected for jury duty. It was for a civil case where a man went into a bar, drank too much, and hit a lady after leaving in his car. No one was killed, but the lady was hurt in the car. I was not chosen to sit on the jury, but I did make it all the way through the jury selection process.
You know when a child turns 18, it is time to start taking life more seriously. When a caterpillar spins a cocoon, you know that a major change is at hand-but how do you know when your online member community needs an upgrade?
There has been a debate brewing for several years over whether forums or listserv are more effective in engaging members of an association. In the past, the discussion has even been framed as listservs vs. private member communities. However, this is not an accurate way to help associations make member engagement technology decisions. Online community software designed for mid-sized and large associations should have both forum and listserv functionality built-in to allow organizations to engage members in their private community using the methods that their members are most comfortable with.
Like their association counterparts, user groups are looking to online communities to grow their organization, take some membership management tasks off the shoulders of volunteers, and give their members the online tools they need to engage with other members and the organization.
With conference attendance down in recent years, many groups have looked at their online community as a means of carrying through the networking and educational benefits that members used to enjoy from their conference. This has resulted in groups looking at the online community and the event as two separate entities.
Well now I can say I am a published author, kind of. My article 10 Ways to Engage Members in Your Online Community for ASAE Associations Now made it into the December 2010 edition. Good stuff! Here it is: