By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
2015 may seem far away, but for many organizations Fall is when major planning and budgeting initiatives kick off. For many community and social teams their budget may cover everything from technology licensing, training and staff costs to paid social media advertising, personal branding in order to remain distinct from a larger parent company or consulting services. While every community’s budget is different we’ve identified three best practices to help you plan for the upcoming year.
Apply Sound Justification Principles When Budgeting for Resources
One of the most important feedback channels in any community program is the one between the community team and the executive team. It is important to continually share wins with your executive team – no matter how small the win! Most executive teams want solid statistics – it’s always a good idea to monitor agreed upon strategic metrics and tie them back to revenue. From there you can estimate how much your team could potentially generate in revenue with added content and programming. Of course, every company will be different but consistently setting metrics goals and presenting your results to your executive team sets the stage for future growth.
Budget for In-Person Events
The State of Community Management 2014 research showed that communities that host offline events have a lurker rate at 56%, and communities that host regular online events have a lurker rate of 57%. While the majority of your community programs will take place online, incorporating offline events that are linked to community initiatives can be very powerful. If there is a company initiative that needs to be celebrated or promoted, try to tie-in a community-focused event while your members are already gathered together. Don’t forget to invite your executive team or community sponsors to the event: executive modeling is a powerful community-building tool.
Consider Budgeting for Consulting or Advisory Programs
If you’re just getting started in community, or are undertaking a significant new initiative consider bringing in a consultant or advisory team to cover the basics and ensure that your team is aware of best practices that they should be performing on a regular basis. If your team is bogged down with keeping up with the day-to-day activities and not taking the time to think about longer-term projects and where they should be focusing their efforts to be most effective strategically an outside perspective can provide valuable insights and actionable plans.
Have you started planning your 2015 budget? What best practices do you recommend to get the most out of your budgeting?
Note for TheCR Network Members:
Interested in attending this annual call? We’ll announce the date for the 2015 Budgeting & Planning call soon. Looking for additional resources? Check out these reports inside the Network:
- Planning and Budgeting for Community & Social (2014)
- Budgeting & Planning for the Upcoming Year (2013)
Not a member? Want access to the complete archives inside TheCR Network – including resource bundles, case studies and roundtable reports from over 200 events? Join TheCR Network now!
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