In general, full-featured online community platforms have the following core features.
- User profiles. Create and maintain user profiles
- Groups. Create and maintain user groups (including security by group)
- Content. Create and publish content in a variety of formats, including pages, blogs, wikis, audio, and video
- File sharing and collaboration. Upload files of a variety of types for sharing and collaboration
- Categorizing and tagging. Create and manage taxonomies (categories and/or tags) to classify content and people
- Discussion. Threaded discussions and chat
- Gamification. Provide users with awards/recognition for performing certain tasks or achieving certain milestones
- Events. Organize and promote events
- Member directory. Search/browse/view profiles and content from other community members
- Search. Efficiently search user profiles and content across the community
- Reporting/engagement analytics. Learn how your community is behaving
- Mobile-ready/responsive design. Deliver an elegant experience both on desktop and mobile devices
- Security. At a minimum, all sensitive information should be encrypted both “in transit” (between your browser and the server) and “at rest” (where it is stored in the database)
In addition, you might want your platform to have the following characteristics or capabilities:
- Personalized content. Deliver personalized or exclusive content to users based on their profile attributes or behaviors
- Surveys. Conduct surveys and analyze responses
- Integration. Pre-built integrations with industry-leading constituent relationship management (CRM) systems and/or association management system (AMS)
- Process automation. Design workflows to automate engagement
This gives you a sense of what features are included in the online community software we consider for our clients.
What are some of the products that provide these features?
There is a broad range of technology that supports nonprofit online communities. The next post in this series will give you some pointers on which software solutions to consider. See some software solutions that have these features.
Jumping in at the middle? See the introductory post for this series: “Driving Nonprofit Impact Through Online Communities”
Need More Expertise?
Are you looking for an assessment and roadmap to ensure your organization is considering your business needs to software investments with long-term strategic value? Or perhaps you’re ready to have a conversation about a software selection process? Learn more about our Nonprofit Digital Engagement Software solutions here. Whatever your nonprofit technology consulting needs, Build is here to help.