Written by Mayra Pacheco
As the year comes to a close, it's a great time to look to a few Ning Networks that have had great success throughout 2012 for inspiration. We asked Network Creators on our Creators Network to let us know how their year went, and we received some exciting stories of success and lessons learned.
These Ning Networks were led by creative, hard-working teams and have achieved their own forms of success due to their dynamic leadership. Using the words of wellkunnected.com Network Creator, Armani Rouse: "There isn't a hack for had work and creativity!"
eCoronado.com is the most popular newspaper website and online community resource for Coronado, Calif. During 2012, the eCoronado team looked beyond their online tools and developed successful strategies to incorporate their community with offline events/ giveaways/ discount cards/ sponsors/ pretty-much-anything-they-set-their-mind-to.
In brief, they hired two paid writers, a site admin, and interviewed many candidates to bring on their 13th intern. They now have 20+ paid sponsors and have launched over 40 physical photo/scavenger hunt contests to drive activity. In their spare time, they hosted an anniversary party and bought hundreds of local members ice cream, created a local discount card in partnership with public schools and started rewarding top photo contributors with badges and company schwag.
We're not sure when the eCoronado.com team finds time sleep between advancing their development strategy and hosting ice cream giveaways!
Some networks define their success by the number of members they attract, while iava.communityofveterans.org has amassed 24,500+ members, this is not where they see their triumph. The IAVA community is part of the largest nonprofit organization helping Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
The IAVA community team sees their triumph in the very real resources they have developed for their members. They implemented a Crisis Response SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) this year which was used to connect members with suicidal urges to life-saving resources. As Jason, the Network Creator, puts it: "Running a mental health / veteran network provided endless excitement. It's been a crazy year on our network."
They also had the opportunity to personally officiate a wedding of two long-time and active members of the community — who actually met because of the network — and secure a couple of grants to get some part-time support and a redesign for 2013. We look forward to continue to hear inspiring stories from this community in 2013. If you'd like to support an organization that Time magazine says remains the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans, please head to their donate page.
Italian photographer network fotografiapuntodincontro.com defines its success by the elegant, clean and efficient community they have created thanks to their decision this year to enable the option to have all new photos approved by administrators before they become visible. Riccardo believes this enables fotografiapuntodincontro.com to deliver the highest quality photos to enrich the member experience. "We are proud to offer in Italy something different about photography site, thanks to approval photo."
Check out some of their featured photos; they truly are stunning. We'll be keeping an eye on their network to see them grow and to enjoy more of their masterful shots in 2013.
Three weeks ago, self-proclaimed web novice Jennifer realized her dream of managing an online parenting community with parent-chat.com. Having no
experience whatsoever, she set about getting her network up and running and now has a solid founding-member base. The Network Creator, Jennifer, promises: "I am only related to 5 of them!" Creating something tangible from an abstract idea is definitely a great leap forward, so we'd like to congratulate parent-chat.com for launching their network in 2012!
Defining Success for Your Community in 2013
It's important to remember that each community defines success differently. The end of the year marks a great point to look at your own community and decide what you define as success. Whether it is defined by page views, engagement, or financial profit, we wish you the best of luck in 2013!