A community consists of its members. This may seem straightforward, but all-too-often people — community leaders and members included — act like a community is its leaders. Even those who cannot or do not want to hold leadership positions have many options for participation.
1. Be Present
The first step is committing to being there. Whether your community meets in the park on Sunday or online, showing up has several important results. Your presence:
- Keeps you up-to-date.
- Encourages other members.
- Influences group decisions.
As you can see, being a physical part of your community benefits everyone involved: you, other members, and the group as a whole.
2. Speak Up
You may not be a community leader, but your voice is the way you influence community decisions and the direction you collectively take. Not everything that comes out of your mouth will directly affect next week’s activities or the long-term goals, but keeping your mouth shut ensures that you will never have any influence on either of those aspects.
Look for ways to get involved.
- Organize a fundraiser.
- Look up and call sponsors.
- Cater an outreach event.
- Share social media content.
The list is really endless, and depends on your community structure and goals. Some take very little energy and time, while others require planning and dedication, some come on a recurring basis and some just once. Regardless of these factors, however, all contribute to your community’s success.
4. Reach Out
A community is only as strong as its members, and its strength only grows when its members commit to outreach.
- To other members – Whether it is simple friendship or official mentorship, reaching out to other members strengthens the commitment to the community.
- To leaders – Whether it is feedback, encouragement, or thanks, reaching out to the leadership strengthens the community’s structure.
- To potential members – Whether you reach out to strangers or friends, in person or by social media, new members strengthen the community’s influence.
Do not despair if you do not have enough time to fill a leadership position. Or if you are not able to dedicate consistent time on a weekly or monthly basis. There are innumerable ways to participate in and contribute to your community — the ones mentioned here are a great place to start. And this participation is equally important as leading, because without their members’ contributions, leaders would have no one to lead.
Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read up on how you can effectively contribute to your community. Let us know if you have any questions! Also, if you have any ideas on how to start your own social network, our SocialEngine software can help you get there. Check out our free trial and see what SocialEngine can do for you.