Much of our community work can often rely on sponsorship. This could be for your conferences, events or meetups. Your newsletters. Ads on your community. Even if you don't have sponsors in the traditional sense, we can look at the business that supports and funds the community as a sponsor.
Communities and audiences naturally tie together and one way of making communities sustainable is to seek the support of sponsors.
Getting more details about our demographic will not only support sponsors, it can also help community builders understand their people better. This is all part of community discovery, intentionally researching and understanding our people better.
Sponsors are hard to please
However, it's not always easy to please sponsors. They often ask for a lot, quite often too much! It can be especially hard to get sponsors onboard and convince them that the people in your community are their target market.
To gather the data we may need to ask for it, though that may not align with how we onboard or gather data in our communities.
For example, sponsors may want to know that there are "Directors" in your community. The traditional way to do this would be to capture the information up front when people register for an account or a newsletter.
There are a few problems with this approach:
- we can often end up changing a good chunk of onboarding to gather data
- gathering too much data impacts conversions, negatively (not positively!)
- people really don't want to be giving their data away
- fake data is often used to get past forms
- the data becomes outdated pretty quickly
The other aspect is that you only get one chance to gather the data. Or perhaps a yearly chance if you are doing an annual survey.
Continuously community polls
In community we can find creative ways to always be curious about our people. To continuously interview people using whatever tools or channels are available to us. Submitting a form upon registering for something does not need to be seen as the one and only way to gather data.