Community mission, type of motivators and sense of belonging

Table of contents

  1. Community mission, goals and antagonist
  2. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivators
  3. Sense of belonging
  4. Efficient communities are meritocracies

Community mission, goals and antagonist

In the nutshell, a community is a way to solve some social problem that is otherwise difficult or impossible to solve. The mission of a community is a short description of a proposed solution to that problem. The mission explains “what” a community does and “why” people should join it. People who are concerned with the social problem being solved and who believe that the proposed solution (the mission) is the best approach to solve it will join the community.

The mission of a community is the central element. Any community begins with a mission statement and ends once the mission has been achieved.

The mission is something that is waiting for us far beyond the horizon. To stay on track, we need goals—specific milestones that bring us closer to our mission one step at the time. Goals unite users and make them push in the same direction together. Mission creates a shared identity and goals set a universal measurement system that allows the users to judge on any issue that arises on the way.

Social problems, like any other high level concepts, are difficult to explain and understand. One way to make the problem you’re solving more tangible is to find an antagonist, company, project, or whatever else that is currently benefiting the most from the existence of the problem. You can define your community as something that is opposed to the antagonist and measure your progress towards your mission by overperforming the antagonist. At an early stage, when many aspects of the community have not yet been defined, having an antagonist will help the community manager find the first users and the users to find a consensus on the choice of initiatives.

Extrinsic and intrinsic motivators

Extrinsic motivators help stimulate short-term interest among existing users who are already interested in your community. External motivators are based on incentives and rewards that fall into two primary categories: material (swag, gift cards, etc.) and intangible (special status, additional privileges on the site, etc.). Extrinsic motivators play the secondary role.

If you are planning to create a new community, increase the number of users or increase the engagement of the existing users, you need to think in terms of intrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivation is the primary driving force to participate in a community. Intrinsic motivators are based on a sense of satisfaction and pleasure derived from doing an activity itself.

There are two big categories of intrinsic motivations:

  • Personal motivation. Primary components of personal motivation are a sense of autonomy, the ability to decide what, when and how to do something, and a sense of competence, the ability of being good at what you do.
  • Social motivation. The most prominent social motivators are the ability to connect with other members of the community and being able to share your work with peers and help them.

Personal and social intrinsic motivations add to one another.

Sense of belonging

Your community is successful when there are users who feel that they belong to it. Sense of belonging can be described as a degree to which a person sees themselves to be connected to their community and satisfied with their role within it. Sense of belonging emerges through constant positive interactions with other members of a community. Sense of belonging can only exist if users respect, trust and care for one another.

Nurturing a sense of belonging among the users is one of the primary goals of community building.

Efficient communities are meritocracies

Meritocracy is a way to organize a group where people get a place in the social hierarchy of a group based only on the work they have done regardless of everything else. Meritocracy-based communities are able to create incredible value of very high quality for the community itself and the outside world. High results are accomplished by the fact that the rules of the game are clear and the same for everyone and anyone can participate.