Community Management

Defining Your Community Values in 4 Steps

October 17, 2022

Defined by the Cambridge Dictionary values are “the principles that help you to decide what is right and wrong, and how to act in various situations”. Values are not only part of every single system we live in, but they are also what guides us in the world around us.

Creating values for our community is helping us make more straightforward strategical decisions and supporting us in our day-to-day tasks. They are part of our community governance that unifies everything we do — from posts and content, we create to events or programs we build. The values are at the same time the umbrella under which all our activities fall and the links that connect everything into a meaningful and holistic system.

How do we define our community values?

Before defining the values for your community, it’s extremely important to understand that community values are not brand values. Yes, we should make sure that the values for our community make sense for our brand, but these are not created to support the business — they help us make sure we manage our community in a sustainable way.

1. Purpose and Values

When you are building your community, first you need to have a clear purpose for why you are doing this. The community's purpose is like a lighthouse — it serves as a guide and reminder for everything you do. After you have defined your purpose, you need to create the values which support it. The values are like the bricks and the steel of the lighthouse — they make it strong, unique, and meaningful.

2. Community Feedback

It’s essential to remember that you define the values in your community for both your team and community members. That’s why you can’t do it without listening to what they have to say. Before you choose the values, it’s helpful to conduct a community survey and interviews. This way you will understand what’s important for your members and why are they part of the community. When you include them in the process, it will be easier for them to adopt and use the values in the community space.

3. Interconnectedness

After defining your purpose, and hearing your members’ feedback, you can come up with hundreds of values that will make sense for your community. Yet, it’s helpful to choose 3-5 so that it’s easier for everyone to follow them. You can filter them by asking some of these questions:

  • How is this value connected to our purpose?
  • How is this value connected to the other values?
  • What actions will make sense to this value?
  • Is this value helping us build a healthy and engaged community or not?

4. Reevaluation

When you come up with your values and you communicate them both internally and externally, they start acting as your decision filter. You should use the values to ask yourself if certain activities make sense — is the content you publish supporting the values, are the events representing the values, do your members see how they are not acting according to them? By using the values in this way you will also understand better if they are suitable for the community or not. Be open to modifications as your members' needs and wishes also change. Community values are an unquestionable part of building a community. They are the ingredients that you can’t ignore if you want to create a one-of-a-kind recipe that everyone will love and cherish.

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