Online communities take collaborative approach » Charity Digital News

Online communities take collaborative approach


Sift Digital

New survey from SiftDigital

SiftDigital has launched a second report this month, looking into online communities and their digital usage. The findings indicate that organisations are moving away from the one-dimensional model and taking a more collaborative approach. Charities surveyed include Macmillan, Age UK and Breast Cancer care. One notable finding was that more charities felt that their online communities were able to influence organisational policy, seeing an increase in 19% in 2011 to a significant 46%.

The survey highlighted the importance of having a simple social return on investment policy (SROI) which is key in obtaining a credible status. In addition, it was found that most consumption happens through mobile devices, so charities are encouraged to explore the potential of mobile devices, because it has been recognised that this is the platform by which most information is consumed.

Jim Clifford, a research fellow at Cass Business School, comments on the application of SROI logic: “The social impact of online communities comes, I would suggest, from three main areas: facilitating support and mutual-support for users, enabling the organisation to influence a wider audience and scrutiny … If these are understood in the context of a particular community, and supported by a clear view of the changes they bring about in the community they serve, then an evaluation is possible.”

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