Ecampaigning forum case study: myactionaid

For the next couple of days I’m at the ecampaigning forum in Oxford and am going to attempt to live blog the main sessions as far as possible. These notes are largely unedited, so they’re likely to be a bit sketchy. For context, feel free to post a comment and I’ll catch up with them when I can.

MyActionAid presentationMyActionAid Launched about a year ago. Built on plone which let them use out of the box tricks like forums, photo sharing, RSS, plus is open source so actionaid can re-invest in community.

Why bother building own online community?

More project goes on, the clearer the reasons become.

  • Build closer relationship with supporters. Not UK-based service delivery org, this helps us get closer to them and add value for them
  • More control of features/development
  • To make money! Double the giving rate compared to presence on other sites. Wonder if that’s because of sense of closeness/more qualified relationship
  • Cut out middle man, reduce fees paid to other services

What trying to achieve?

  • Not competition with other social networks. Want supporters to be wherever they want to be (and link back to myactionaid!)
  • People are proud of their profiles and link back to them
  • Build interest groups.
  • Fundraising helped them bootstrap/make case, but it pays for itself and they can diversify focus
  • Going forward – empower supporters, build event-related networks

Photo sharing very popular feature. Offer unlimited public photo sharing, wonder if that will be scalable. Status updates (“twitter-esque”)

500 active supporters, meaning they are raising money. Most activities raise ~£1000 but some up to £10,000.

Cons of setting up own network/Advice

Really they are risks. Haven’t solved them all, but they are mostly opportunities too. Make sure resource well.

Question about how deep it goes. How much content is put in? What is supporters’ journey?
First website ever launched empty! They put very little in: event listings, news from actionaid homepage RSS feed (low maintenance). People seem to gain from the experience. Some go and visit projects. Does work a little as recruitment, but haven’t really marketed site yet. Communication strategy about to kick in.
Undisclosed! Most of the investment was time getting people on board, making sure infrastructure in place, developing response mechanisms for users’ contributions. Money it’s brought in made business case for more sophisticated hosting platform, so revolutionised their IT infrastructure.
How do staff interact with it?
Community Fundraising Group work very closely with site. Thrilled with deepening relationship with supporters.
How reached critical mass?
It is vital. Site doesn’t behave like normal website. (ed: not sure this answered the question…?)
Did it pay for itself?
Yes. Pretty quickly.
There’s a facebook logo on screen?
There’s a facebook app that shows info from your myactionaid profile. it’s just launching.
What’s the rate of growth like?
Went up at the beginning! Grew rapidly. Levelled out for a while. Now growing steadily.

Now wondering what other ecampaigning tools they can provide to members.

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