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Why Community Matters: How to Drive Advocacy with User Engagement

When someone commits to a cause, they want to do more than sign a petition. They want to take multiple actions to affect change, find fellow supporters and, over time, realize a compounded impact. Communities amplify these desired effects, and more. 

Create momentum for sustained engagement 

A criticism of online advocacy is that “one-off” actions, such as clicking a "like" button or e-signing a petition only generate a momentary sense of inspiration. An online community provides an opportunity to explore deeper forms of advocacy, find new resources, network with others, take further actions online and offline, and track the results of those actions.

Communities enable cause campaigns to grow into sustained movements. Through community, you can systematically engage individuals around your cause while building a collective primed for action. 

Build retention

"I signed the petition, now what?" Once someone takes an initial action, it's important to keep them engaged. Community provides a space for people to stay updated and empowered.

A community can also be a place to take next steps. For example, say you signed a petition and were then directed to join a community, you might find information on how to call your representatives, or content to share with your network. You could share your story, connect, and engage in discussions with fellow community members, deepening your commitment to the cause.

Mobilize Supporters in times of crisis and rapid response 

News cycles move quickly, but with a sustained community of advocates, timely communication and action in response to crises, policy changes, or world events are possible.

For example, if you run a political community, and a bill you oppose passes in Congress, you can immediately rally your community to call their Senators. Or if your community is focused on providing volunteer aid, you could mobilize it to take action in response to a natural disaster. Communication is more coordinated, and your team will be more motivated to execute.  

Provides sustained analytics and insight into what resonates

With a community, your advocacy efforts bear insights on collective impact over time. Online community platforms provide visibility on micro-activities, such as clicks on calls to action and content sharing, enabling you to understand such things as what messaging resonates, and how to target specific sub-groups. For example, if you determine that a subgroup in your community has signed a petition but hasn't taken any other actions, you can send it specific messaging encouraging a next step.