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community builders

6 Simple Practices for Community Builders

As we all know, it’s one thing to have the heart to want to make a difference in your community. It’s quite another to actually express that in a way that others can understand.

In the last post, I wrote about the mindset it takes to have an impact in your community. Essentially, if you want to grow your community, you have the community in mind as you’re working.

Meaning if you’re working with a nonprofit, for example, you want to be working with those people the nonprofit is meant to help to reach solutions. Same could be said about developing an online following. If you want people to engage with you, you have to reach out first.

But what does it mean to reach out? To be someone who cares? What are the actions that this person takes?

Here’s 6 simple practices to help you reach out and start impacting the lives of others.

6 Practices of a Community Builder

Listen and Examine

The first place you want to start when making an impact for your community is to simply listen. What are some of the problems that aren’t being addressed? Out of these problems, are there some issues you could personally help with? Is there something that sounds like it’d be fun, but maybe you don’t know that much about?

If so, get good at asking questions and digging deeper. This process, called Idea Extraction, is a skill just about anyone can put to use in their work.

Skill Up and/or Branch Out

Once you learn what the issues are in your community, it’s time to figure out some solutions. In the entrepreneurial space, this could be anything from coming up with a service of some sort to creating some software, or even creating a course that people can take on a particular topic.

If you’re in the nonprofit space, maybe you find out that a group of people aren’t being addressed the way you’d like. What would be the solution to that which would be beneficial to everyone in the community? How can you make it a win-win-win?

In either situation, you can choose to do the work yourself (or learn to) or you can team up with someone who’s already well vetted in the work you’re looking to do. A great skill to have is one where you find problems and plug people into them who are naturally gifted at fixing that kind of issue.

Act like Nick Fury and find your team!

Plan Together

Now that you’re starting to put together your own group of Avengers, it’s a good idea to get their input as far as decision making goes. Forming a council or a board of these early folks is a great idea so that you can regularly bounce ideas off of each other.

One thing you don’t want to do is to be the one constantly making decisions for the entire group. If you find yourself in that role, then there might be some things you don’t see and people might inadvertently keep info from you that would have helped make a better decision.

So make sure this group of yours plans together regularly to avoid these issues. Also, there’s the added benefit in iron sharpening iron… if you’ve selected the right people.

Oh, and make sure that these meetings are kept to a minimum. Idea people love to think things out, but if you include implementers into this meeting, they might just lose interest.

Mobilize and Implement

In the US military, there are two distinct groups of people. There are enlisted folks and then there’s officers. Officers are the supervisors of the enlisted. While they think about what needs to be done, the enlisted people have to figure out how to actually get it done.

In this new group of yours, it makes sense to plan. However, great plans don’t lead to great results on their own. You’ll need to take action to get the desired effect you want.

What’s great is that usually your implementers are usually not the idea people in your group. So make sure you let them figure out how something will actually get done once you figure out what that something is!

Adjust and Re-adjust When Necessary

Here’s the thing about implementing a plan. Sometimes it might not work out the way you thought it was going to go. In fact, most of the time, it’s not going to work out the way that you first expected it to. However, that’s not a problem. You’re not a sniper. You don’t have to calculate all the things that can go wrong with your one shot before you take it. Instead, you should think of yourself as someone who’s in control of a machine gun. Fire, then adjust your aim until your bullets start hitting the mark.

So, for example, what does this mean in the nonprofit world? Let’s assume you’re working with people who have a specific kind of health related issue. It’s your job to get them the care they need or connect them to people who can. However, they’re not showing up to their appointments with you or with the other people who can help them.

Why? Why is that not happening? It’s NOT your job to blame them for not seeking the help. It’s your job to reach them where they’re at!

Celebrate Wins

I’m sure there’s people out there that say that they don’t like taking the time to celebrate a job done well. However, those people are few and far between.

Truth is, people like being rewarded for their efforts. And sometimes, the work might be hard, and sure the outcome was worth it, but it might feel a little empty to some of your group members. They might feel like they’re being taken advantage of.

So make sure to celebrate the successful campaigns, the stressful events, and the big launches. Your team will feel like you actually appreciate them and will want to continue to put the effort into this meaningful work.

Action Steps

Now that you see what kind of work it takes to build a community, it’s up to you to fit in the details. This is simply a formula that works for just about any kind of mission. If you have any questions regarding some of the specifics of any of these steps, ask below. I’d love to tell you how we handled something for Amplify.

community building

4 Principles of Community Building

Those of us who are influencers have to repeatedly ask ourselves “Who or what am I trying to influence?” Who am I trying to help? The reasons for this varies, but I think a big part of it lies in our internal motivations.

What do we internally find important?

When it comes to the Reiss Motivation Profile, I have four motivators that lie outside of the bell curve: Curiosity, Idealism, Saving, and Honor.

When I took this test earlier this year, I struggled a bit to see where these motivators fit into my life. However, as I reflected more, I realized that my interest in politics and community building comes from these core motivators.

  • Curiosity leads me to want to keep on the forefront on whatever’s going on. I’m always asking Why?
  • Idealism leads me to ask if the situation is fair. And if it isn’t, how can it be made that way?
  • Saving shows its head by seeing the value in things that have been forgotten or are considered outdated by most.
  • And Honor pops up by me asking “What’s the right thing to do?” in just about every situation.

While I think this gives me a bit of a natural interest in working with people in my town and state, not all current or future community leaders are going to have the same motivations.

So, let’s look a bit into some of the internal principles that a successful community builder believes in.

Community Building Principles

While not every community builder has the same motivations, there are some key ideas that will help a person be successful in this role.

Go to the People

The first thing we need to focus on is the people inside the community. You can’t build a community if you don’t help those that are in it day in and day out. And to find out what people need in a community, it would make sense to go where the people are. Whether that’s in social gatherings, local meetings, or large events, you need to get out and be with the people you want to help.

Just Start

When many of us first start working on something we care about, we often think that we have to have credentials showing that we’re capable of being helpful. But that’s not always the case. In fact, most of the time we feel like we’re capable of doing something ONLY after we’ve put the time into learning it.

So, in other words, you have to start somewhere. Start with what you know and build on what you have.

Be Generally Helpful

When we are first starting out in our craft or working in our community, we often don’t feel like what we’re doing is up to standard or having the effect that we’d want it to. Which is fine – you just started!

Often the best strategy we can have is to reach out and see if we can learn from anyone who’s going down our path who’s just a bit further ahead of us or, better yet, learn from people who are already where we want to be. You need to engage with all of these individuals. That means, be available, be accountable, and be helpful whenever you can. For example, if you have a ton of connections (like me) make sure that those people are meeting each other regularly. If your gift is organization, then help people get more organized. You’d be surprised how little things mean a lot to people at all levels.

Keep the Community in Mind

When we see politicians start their campaigns they make all kinds of promises. They have an agenda, and unlike the last guy who was in office, they’re going to stick to them.


Many times, however, we see politicians let the power go to their head once they’re in and they’ll do just about anything to stay in that role – even if it goes against what they previously said they were going to do.

When you’re working in the community and you’re known to do a certain thing or be a particular role, never forget why you started it in the first place. If you do, there’s a good chance that you’re not doing the work that needs to be done. Furthermore, there’s probably a chance that you’re going to get replaced.

Action Steps

So there’s a few things you need to keep in mind as you’re setting out to make an impact. To be clear, this is simply some things to consider as you’re doing you and adding value where you can.

That said, there are a few practices you can make into habits that will help you keep these principles in check. We’ll be talking about those in the next post. In the meantime, think about the actions you currently perform in your work and how they’re of benefit to your community. If it’s a bit of a stretch to make the connection, then the next post is for you.

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Claude Errera on Halo.Bungie.Org: Build The Games You Want to Play (AoL 072)

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