Focused, action-oriented activities that mobilize people to achieve shared goals

While all community building campaigns are unique, successful campaigns have some key similarities: a well-defined audience, a focused goal, a clear message, and specific ways for people to get involved during a set period of time.

When you start to develop a community building campaign, we encourage you to think through each of these key considerations to guide your planning process. Then, you can use the set of templates & downloads we created as planning tools to help you further develop your thinking.

Key Considerations

The following key considerations can help you develop the strategic approach for your community building campaign. We’ve identified 5 considerations that each campaign should address:

  1. 👥 Participants: Who do you want to connect?

  2. 🏆 Goals: What do you want to accomplish?

  3. 📣 Message: What do you want to say?

  4. 📅 Timeline: When will it happen?

  5. 💪 Organizers: Who can help you lead the work?

Let’s look at them one by one. Once you’ve reviewed them, you can jot down ideas and track your progress using the planning tools linked below.

👥 Participants

Identify your community: Clearly articulate the audience you want to engage.

Explanation: Always start with people. Community building campaigns are designed to create connections among people within a geography or interest area. Therefore, you must identify your audience first. You must understand who you’re trying to serve.

Thinking questions:

  1. Who is currently part of your community?
  2. Who do you want to be part of your community?
  3. Who is already working on this issue?

🏆 Goals

Choose an overarching goal: Select the primary objective that will guide your collaborative journey.

Explanation: You must have a goal. Campaigns flounder when they don’t have a narrow and focused objective. A campaign’s goal can be large, like advocating for net neutrality, or smaller, like connecting educators within a school environment. Either way, you must know what you are fighting for and working toward.

Thinking questions:

  1. What is the primary objective?
  2. What else needs to be accomplished to achieve that objective?
  3. What can we achieve together that we can’t achieve alone?

📣 Message

Determine your message: Identify the story you want to tell.

Explanation: The message matters. Concise and compelling messages provocatively explain why something is important and how people can get involved. We live in a distracting, cluttered world. Your campaign must cut through the noise and clearly spell out why people should invest their time and energy in your project.

Thinking questions:

  1. What story do you want to tell?
  2. Why is this work important?
  3. Why should people care about it?
  4. What talking points will resonate with your community?
  5. How should you convey your message?

📅 Timeline

Build your calendar of events: Determine how long your campaign should last.

Explanation: As you plan your community building campaign’s activities, think about how they fit into other items on your community’s calendar. Make sure to set realistic milestones: leave enough time between activities for ideas to grow, and host ongoing “heartbeat” activities to keep participants engaged.

Thinking questions:

  1. How soon do you want things to happen?
  2. How often do your activities need to take place?
  3. What useful milestones might you set?
  4. What external milestones might accelerate or inhibit your activities?

💪 Organizers

Get friends to help: Recruit collaborators to fill critical roles.

Explanation: Community building campaigns demand considerable and varied effort, and it’s worth recruiting friends, colleagues, and other professionals whose skillsets match the work. Some important contributors might include key community partners who can guide the campaign over the long term, plus short-term helpers like communications professionals, photographers, meeting facilitators, or venue hosts.

Thinking questions:

  1. What roles do you need contributors to play to help you achieve your goals?
  2. How might you recruit contributors to join you?
  3. Are your helpers and vendors representative of your audience and responsive to their needs?

Templates & Downloads

  • Campaign Builder - Create a high-level, one-page plan for your campaign
  • Experience Cards - Brainstorm the kinds of action-oriented experiences you might include in your campaign. Remember, you can use the same experience type more than once
  • Experience Arc - Stitch those experiences together to create your campaign. This will enable you to create a one-page summary of your trajectory
  • Experience Builder - Plan each experience in your campaign in greater detail