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The 20-Minute Online Community Plan

// August 31, 2017

community management plan template

Online Community Planning Made Easy

You have an idea, a movement you want to create, but you’re not quite sure how to get started. The first step is the hardest when it comes to building a community.

The good news is, sometimes it just takes the act of carving out time to sit down, focus, and make a solid plan, to start your community. Like one famous writer once said, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”

That’s why we’ve created the Community Management Plan Template, a resource used by thousands of community managers around the world. This template will help you set goals, recruit, define roles, engage members and align your community.

community management plan template
Once you’ve downloaded the template, you’re probably wondering how you can use it to its best ability—well, keep reading.

The first step is to focus on the bigger picture of your community. In this section, there are three areas of focus: the vision, potential programs, and key groups. Not sure what those mean? Let us explain.

1. The Vision

It’s important to have an overall vision for your community. Many communities that use Mobilize have mission statements. For example, Ada’s list describes its community as “a global community for women in tech, based on principles of inclusion, empowerment, and diversity.” When thinking of your vision, it’s a good idea to write it like a mission statement. Below, you can do just that.

Questions to answer

What’s the vision of your community?

What will the world look like when you’ve accomplished your mission?

Once you’ve written down your mission, it’s time to get a little lost in your imagination. Answer this question honestly. How will the world benefit from your community? What footprint will it make on the world? What is the legacy you’re looking to leave?

2. Potential Programs

Your community will likely consist of multiple sub-communities. It’s important within a community, to maintain an authentic sense of community which requires a sense of belonging. In this section, think of what the smaller communities will look like. Perhaps, you’ll create city chapters—or maybe connect people their participation goals within the community.

Questions to answer

What are all of the different types of communities/programs that can help you achieve your vision?

How can these programs help you achieve your goals?

3. Key Groups

In this section, think more granularly and about logistics.

Questions to answer
How can you segment your members into sub-groups? (is there a tool you can use?)

How will they work together to achieve your overall goals?

The Snowball Framework

At Mobilize, we created the Snowball Framework which is a process designed to help communities grow. This section is the step-to-step framework that will help you build your plan.

4. Recruiting Strategy

Recruitment is the life force of your community. Whether it’s an online registration form or word of mouth, it’s important to establish a recruitment method. In order to do this, start by asking yourself the following questions:

• Where do your members hang out online?

• What information about your members is important for recruitment?

Using this information, you can better develop a recruitment process and determine where you’ll find new members.

5. Training & Knowledge Sharing

Once you’ve recruited members to your community, you need to set them up for success. We’ve seen many communities develop robust training programs. From guides to webinars, it’s important to have an effective onboarding strategy.

Questions to answer

What do members need to know to be active members in your community?

How will you convey this knowledge and information?

6. Driving Participation

Recruitment and training processes are important, but once your members are in, the real work begins.

Questions to answer

How can you track member participation?

What would a content plan for your movement look like. What updates & announcements will you share?

How often will you need to communicate with your members?

How are your members communicating now?

What are the best channels to use to communicate with members (email, SMS, social media?)

7. Rewards & Belonging

It’s important to reward your community members, and we’re not talking about swag here. How will they benefit from your community? Often times, we’ve found intrinsic rewards are great motivators. Maybe you are offering them professional development, such as a mentor program, or access and discounts to special classes? Before deciding what your rewards are, sit in your member’s’ shoes, and ask these questions:

What will members gain from being part of the community?

How will your mission improve their lives and personal impact on the world?

How will you reward members?

How will you foster a sense of belonging?

8. Scale & Leadership

Successful movements around the world, that made a lasting impact, succeeded because they followed the famous Snowflake Model. The Snowflake Model was designed to help community leaders identify leaders within their community. However, the first snowflake is you. And it’s up to you to set a responsibility for future leaders within your community.

What is your role as a community leader?

What makes you a good leader? Write a job description for yourself.

Eventually you can modify and use this job description to communicate responsibilities with future community managers.

There you have it! Enjoy the Community Management Plan Template, we’re excited to watch your community grow.

Did you like our template? Share it with your friends on social media and use the hashtag #Mobilizing

Sharon Savariego is the CEO and co-founder of Mobilize. She's passionate about the power of groups and is driving forward Mobilize’s mission to build the best communication app that empowers group leaders to inspire action. To date, Mobilize has helped brand names like Microsoft, Docker, Etsy, Maker Faire, SalesForce, The United Nations, Meetup, Prezi, and more manage their hundreds and thousands of global partners. In less than two years, Sharon has grown the company to 30 people, two offices around the world, and raised over $8 million in two funding rounds from leading Silicon Valley investors.

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