Tag Archives: community management

Leadership: The Art and Skill of Mobilizing One’s Community to Action

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, in part one of a collaborative two part series, Fellow Rosanna Volchok shares her thoughts on the similarities between community engagement and community organizing, as well as the importance of recognizing leadership skills in community managers.

Posted by Rosanna Volchok, Manager, Network Engagement at the New York Academy of Sciences

Flock of Ducks Flying Overhead
Flock of Ducks Flying Overhead” by Don DeBold under CC BY 2.0

When one thinks about fast-paced work, community engagement may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But ask the Fellows in the CEF Program and I am certain that many (if not most) would agree that effective community managers must be both agile and adaptable to change. The beauty, then, of the CEFP is that it provides those of us working in scientific community engagement with the space and time to reflect upon our roles. These meditations, in turn, allow us to define what it is that makes our work both unique and important to the communities we represent. In reflecting on my own role, I keep coming back to this idea that community management can be viewed–and perhaps should be viewed–as another model of community organizing. Blame my background in public service and advocacy, but I’m inclined to think that us Fellows are all community organizers no matter the title listed on our business cards.

That said, if we want to make the distinction between community management and community organizing (and many do), drawing parallels between these two fields has helped me to understand the critical role that leadership plays in my day-to-day work. Cultivating the art and skill of leadership is essential to mobilizing one’s community to action.

Continue reading Leadership: The Art and Skill of Mobilizing One’s Community to Action

Building a Community Playbook Part 3: What’s in it?

In January 2017, we wrapped up the training week for the inaugural class of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from the January training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Yesterday Stephanie O’Donnell described several different audiences and use cases for community playbooks. Today, in the final post in her three part series, will dive into the content of community playbooks.

Posted by Stephanie O’DonnellCommunity Manager at WILDLABS.net, Fauna & Flora International

Red hardcover book gutter with sewn pages flipping through the air ready for browsing. The cover has a shiny, plastic texture.
“Hardcover book gutter and pages” by Horia Varlan under CC BY 2.0

Now that we’ve established how useful a playbook might be and how different audiences might use it, we come to the big question: what goes in your Playbook? Read on to learn about the different kinds of content and content mediums that you can choose from. The credit for this framework goes to the Community Roundtable, who presented the following information in a CEFP webinar.

Continue reading Building a Community Playbook Part 3: What’s in it?

Building a Community Playbook Part 2: Who is it for?

In January 2017, we wrapped up the training week for the inaugural class of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from the January training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Last week Stephanie O’Donnell introduced the concept of community playbooks. Today, in part two of her three part series, she looks at different audiences and use cases for community playbooks.

Posted by Stephanie O’DonnellCommunity Manager at WILDLABS.net, Fauna & Flora International

Crowd in seats
Audience” by TEDx UniversityofTulsa under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Once you’ve learned what a community playbook is, the next step in building your own playbook is identifying your audience. In this post, I’ll cover the two main use cases for community playbooks and highlight different potential audiences.

Continue reading Building a Community Playbook Part 2: Who is it for?

Google I/O 2017: Applying Lessons for Developers to Community Engagement

In January 2017, we wrapped up the training week for the inaugural class of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from the January training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. In this post, Dr. Stephanie E. Vasko recaps several talks from Google’s I/O 2017 conference and finds the link to community management.

Posted by Stephanie E. Vasko, Research Associate and Program Manager for the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) at Michigan State University

Google I/O 2017 logo

As part of my push to develop new community engagement management skills during my fellowship year, I am interested in developing web apps for community engagement. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA. While this conference is geared towards developers, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of talks I saw that touched on aspects of community engagement.

Community engagement managers often have to think about the design and display of their content for their communities, crafting content, and developing brand voice. Many communities rely less and less on in-person interactions for this and more on web resources and virtual meetings. This means that skills in areas like user experience design and designing for accessibility should be on the radar of all community engagement managers. In this vein, I wanted to share a recap of five talks from I/O that might help you expand or enhance your community engagement skills in these areas:

Continue reading Google I/O 2017: Applying Lessons for Developers to Community Engagement

Building a Community Playbook Part 1: What is it?

In January 2017, we wrapped up the training week for the inaugural class of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from the January training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, CEFP Fellow Stephanie O’Donnell shares the first in a three part recap of a CEFP webinar on community playbooks. 

Posted by Stephanie O’Donnell, Community Manager at WILDLABS.net, Fauna & Flora International

Binders, a book, and a pencil
Busy…” by taylormcquarrie under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the opening training week of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program, The Community Roundtable introduced the “Community Playbook” as a valuable tool for community managers.

A playbook pulls together all the information about your community from the disparate spaces where it’s been living, collates it and presents it in a way that is accessible for a specific audience. A community playbook can also serve to legitimise and build support for the work of your community team.

Over the course of the second half of our fellowship year, the Fellows will be creating playbooks for our own organizations. To help us with this, The Community Roundtable was invited to give an overview of the key components and considerations of playbooks during one of the CEFP monthly webinars. In this post, I’ll recap that introduction, presented by Rachel Happe and Georgina Cannie.

Continue reading Building a Community Playbook Part 1: What is it?

The Community Lifecycle – Converting theory to practice as a community manager

Caterpillars and butterfly on a leaf
Monarch butterfly stages of development” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region under CC BY 2.0

Building online communities can be hard. Maybe you start a discussion and nothing happens – silence. Or maybe last week saw lots of conversation but this week you’re back to worrying that you’re talking to yourself. Combine that with the lack of training and resources for community managers and you can be left confused about what to do to help your community activate and grow.

One of the resources that we’ve used a lot at Trellis is the four-stage lifecycle model presented in Rich Millington’s book, “Buzzing Communities”. Millington’s model is based on a systematic review by Iriberri and Leroy which synthesized the results of 27 papers about online communities to create a model for how online communities progress. This lifecycle model is key if you’re a community manager because it explains clearly what to expect at each stage – and what you should be doing to move things along to the next.

We’ve now used this model in exercises for our AAAS Community manager journal club, for our AAAS Community Engagement Fellows training and even for a staff lunch and learn event. Read on for some key takeaways about the lifecycle model – and if you’d like to discuss it in more detail, you can request to join the C4Sci group on Trellis where we regularly discuss all things related to scientific community-building.

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How to measure community value: Findings from a new CMX report

Measuring tape
proper measure(ment)” by Barbara Krawcowicz, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Community managers often face the challenge of communicating their communities’ impact and value back to their organization. As we reported on the blog last year, “defining and measuring shared value” is a top goal for successful communities. Now, a new report from CMX explores the ways in which brand communities are doing just that. In the 2017 Community Value and Metrics Report, CMX shares data from over 500 participants about the ways they measure the impact of the communities they work with.

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Deadline approaching: Applications for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program due this Sunday, October 16

Adapted from “Deadline” by palomaleca, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

A few weeks ago we opened applications for the pilot year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program. We’ve been excited to see applications coming in from individuals and potential host organizations. Some individuals are interested in joining the scientific community engagement field for the first time and others are current community managers, all from a wide variety of backgrounds and institutions. The potential host organizations we’ve been in touch with are also wide-ranging, from discipline-focused professional societies to major international research projects.

Continue reading Deadline approaching: Applications for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program due this Sunday, October 16

The new AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program is now accepting applications

"Application - glasses - pen" by Flazingo Photos, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Application – glasses – pen” by Flazingo Photos, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We’re excited to announce that applications are open for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program through Sunday, October 16, 2016.

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Fellows Program is in its pilot year. The program’s mission is to improve community-building and collaboration within scientific organizations, including both professional associations and research collaborations. The program will provide training and support to a cohort of scientific community managers for a full year.

You can learn more about the purpose and timeline of the program on our About page.

How to apply

We’re seeking two types of applicants for the fellowship: current scientific community managers, and individuals looking to enter the field and be placed in an organization. See our Become a Fellow page to read about what’s expected of Fellows during the program, and for info on the eligibility and selection criteria for each of these options.

We’re also keen to hear from organizations interested in hosting a Fellow. If your organization is interested in developing or facilitating your collaboration or community, please email us at communityfellows@aaas.org to start a conversation. You can read more about expectations during the program, eligibility, and application requirements for host organizations on the Host a Fellow page as well.

For more information about the program, including interviews with existing scientific community managers, see these related posts on the Trellis Blog.

Community manager journal club recap: Fostering a sense of belonging

Posted by Gabrielle Rabinowitz, Community Manager at Trellis

"Passt 2" by Willi Heidelbach, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Passt 2” by Willi Heidelbach, licensed under CC BY 2.0

We’ve recently started a monthly community management journal club at AAAS. In our first two meetings, we’ve focused on two questions at the heart of community building: “What makes a group of people a community?” and “How do these communities vary?” The readings for these meetings included an excerpt from Jono Bacon’s The Art of Community and a blog post by Lou Woodley, Considering Community: What types of community are there?

One theme that emerged from our discussions was the importance of belonging. Read on for different interpretations of this value and how to foster it in your community.

Continue reading Community manager journal club recap: Fostering a sense of belonging