With our conclusion to the Groups series, we are going to explore how you can use Groups (and more) to extend your constituency to organizations that share your market segment or mission.
“Huh?” you might be asking. “Are you saying that I should think about including other organizations with my core constituents?”
Yes, we are! By adding more engaged users to the mix, extended groups can strengthen your brand, reinforce engagement, and deliver more networking opportunities for everyone. Read on for some colorful examples of how this strategy can pay off for your institution.
Extended Network Groups - Higher Education
Take, for example, the hypothetical Music University (MU), a well-regarded music training program. The alumni relations department at MU was also skeptical about extending the network at first, but, with a little help from their client success manager, put a plan together to embrace other institutions within their market. Their ultimate goal was to foster networking between their members and alumni with their industry partners and supporters, empowering these varied groups to connect, collaborate, create events and crowdfund together organically.
Some of the items on the plan were:
- Inviting local musicians and community members to participate in a benefit concert to raise money for a local music charity. Not only would they be the catalyst enabling their members to plan and execute this event, they knew that attendees would experience a great performance and goodwill and funds would be raised across the board!
- Hosting a regional conference for music groups to showcase different talents, tools and technology, and including presentations from influencers in the field
- Starting a music exchange program where students and alumni from MU form groups with musicians from affiliated organizations and perform as an ensemble, thereby extending their professional networks
By reaching out and establishing connections with other local and international music organizations, MU strategically positioned itself as a thought leader and keystone institution for the music training vertical. In fact, this strategy worked so well that the extended network would not only attend MU events, but would also donate to their causes.
Through Extended Network Groups, MU realized peer organization leadership, increased engagement, and fundraising success. Talk about hitting goals!
Extended Network Groups - Nonprofit
This concept certainly is not limited to higher education; the nonprofit space has been collaborating together for decades. Whether through mutual causes like leadership development, strengthening education skills for teachers in at-risk schools, or rallying around social causes and civil liberties, non-profits have certainly strengthened their missions by working together. However, there is an opportunity for non-profit organizations to build upon this by empowering their constituents and collaborative partners to dynamically form groups and network within a safe, social, engaging community.
If your organization is one of many addressing a similar topic (e.g. a regional teacher's association or a local nonprofit organization combating poverty), why not take the opportunity to extend the benefits of your institution's network to other similar associations? By being the leader in jobs for your industry or assembling the most comprehensive directory of "friends to the cause," your network can rise to the top as the premier digital leader for your mission, garnering accolades, engagement, and donations from similar organizations.