creating community: part 1

the GREENtuity chapter

There’s always a beginning to a story.  And so there is with my story.  It all began with an initiative I headed up called

The purpose of GREENtuity was to help raise money and awareness for a local non-profit called Toronto Green Community.  TGC, as it is fondly known as, is a grassroots community organization in Toronto which focuses on teaching and empowering people to make positive environmental choices.

The GREENtuity concept was to have patrons at selected vendor partners donate their gratuities (hence the term GREENtuity) to TGC. The concept was powered by our blog as well as by Twitter.  I thought that because we were using social media we would get massive support from the Toronto Twitter community.  And why wouldn’t we? We were raising money for a good cause and I was a cool person.

And thus my lesson on creating community began.

Our goal was to raise $5000 for TGC as well as generate some media mentions.  We succeeded on the media side by getting coverage from blogTO. The financial side? Not so much. $500 raised. In my eyes a failure. But a lesson learned.

Why did I fail?  Because I didn’t understand the importance of being part of a community, building a community and, finally, mobilizing a community.

community membership:

Being part of an online community is more than just taking out a membership.  It is all about being a productive member of that community. And being productive means giving. And by giving you accumulate social capital.

building community:

Once you’ve identified yourself as a member of the online community you are now able to build your own community. The key here is to not forget what brought you here in the first place: provide compelling content that spurs discussion amongst the community. At this “stage” you’ve identified yourself as a “trust agent”.

mobilizing community:

Once you’ve become a “trust agent” you are now ready (as far as the community is concerned) to mobilize the community. You can ask for comments, “likes”, RT’s or even time and money.

So where did I fail?

All of the above is the correct answer.

I wasn’t a contributing member of the online community. As such, when I asked for support I did not receive it to the extent that I hoped.

The great thing about the online community is that it is very forgiving and it is also a great place to learn. And since then I have learned a great deal.  But that story will have to wait for another chapter.

to be continued…