Associations and other nonprofit membership organizations are already natural communities. This makes building a community online a common sense decision for most association executives.
However, there is more than one way to leverage a private online community. Since every association's mission, priorities, and capacity are different, their abilities to capture the opportunities that building communities presents are also unique.
How associations leverage their online communities depend on the overall purpose of their community, which are based on the organization's overall goals. This may include:
- improving retention
- increasing the value of member benefits
- keeping member engaged
- educating the public
- boosting advocacy toward a legislative initiative