Challenges for Charities Part two: Social connections & building a community

Nov 2019 · Design Strategy

The BBC reported in 2018 ‘Three billion people, around 40% of the world’s population, use online social media — and we’re spending an average of two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating on these platforms, according to some reports. That breaks down to around half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every minute.’ As the debate over the effects of social media rumble on there is a real opportunity for the charity sector to be more vocal about their role of helping to build social connections based on a mutual interest or a common goal.

This can be so effective across all industries. Lego do this amazingly with their Lego ideas platform. It’s a creative online community where users can submit ideas for new designs which fans can then vote, this can lead to Lego putting them into production and even giving the designer a percentage of the final sales. Facebook is also a prime example of a platform that allows like-minded souls to engage with each other and even Uber’s fast growth was largely due to their referral scheme with friends sharing with friends, building a community.

Lego ideas forum

Brand communities feature shared rituals and traditions that are embedded in symbols, events, celebrations and activities unique to a particular brand that also serve as reminders for what it stands for.Within the digital fundraising platform that we have just launched with Action for Children’s Secret Santa campaign we really wanted to emphasis this sense of community. The charity sector is all about people coming together around a mutual interest to help and support, creating relationships through this process.

For Secret Santa we designed a map to be shared only in a thank you email to users once they’d donated. We also developed an interaction that allowed users to see the places in the world where other donors were from through a heat-map. Users could add their own light to the map sharing the action and becoming part of a community of like-minded people which will grow over the campaign’s lifecycle.

What can you do?

  1. Create dynamic sharing images that are given after certain user behaviours
  2. Give users rewards for behaviour e.g points
  3. Pair with like-minded organisations across campaigns to deliver new products
  4. Create digital characters for users
  5. Create user code-names

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