The Big Lottery Fund has opened up an online community platform that’s been under development for some months, judging by earliest message in some of the forums, and news trailed here. The Welcome says:
You’ll be able to network with other people, learn about previous projects, get expert advice and share your knowledge.
There are online spaces for countries, programmes, projects and groups. I’ve been particularly interested – as discussed here – in a platform for knowledge exchange on BIG’s Ageing Better programme, and that’s now available here.
I haven’t spotted any formal announcement of the online community , although BIG is advertising the post of Digital Community Manager. I gather that’s a replacement, rather than new job, and the site is currently being used for some live testing.
I’m interested in the development strategy, because the usual wisdom – see Feverbee’s excellent resource – is that this should be a carefully managed process from the outset.
I hope there may be a blog post explaining the process, and inviting enthusiasts to give feedback and ideas. I think one of the challenges/opportunities will be to engage people who currently use the various BIG twitter accounts and tag streams, and connect with BIG blogging, which tells some great stories. There is some blogging here.
My hunch is that success will also depend on internal engagement, and whether BIG staff are able/encouraged to join in. That would make it an attractive way to get guidance on funding, and tap into the enormous knowledge resources that BIG holds about projects. I found some encouraging posts from funding managers.
Either way Digital Community Manager is going to be an interesting job.
I’ll hold off further comment until I’ve had a look around, and take the positive view that it is really good news BIG has created the space, and is hopefully open to input on how it develops. Hope to see others in there too.
Update: just spotted this strap line “Welcome to our online community – Test phase! Help us improve by signing up and feeding back!”