Communities that are primarily coordinating with one another online, with people working on separate tasks, at different times, and at different frequencies, can end up fragmented, leading to contributors losing sight of the shared goals and becoming disengaged with the project.
Run regular online and (where practical) face-to-face events. Keep to a regular schedule to build a rhythm around your community engagement.
Use regular communications, blog posts and newsletters to keep in touch with the community. Organise Campaigns to help the community maintain its shared purpose.
All collaborative projects have a community of contributors. These communities are likely to be entirely virtual, bringing together people from different organisations and areas of society. Unless your project is part of their day jobs, individual contributors will be contributing at different times, at different frequencies and in different ways.
Trying to build a sense of community across a distributed group is challenging. One approach that has proven successful in some collaborative projects and in building communities of practice is to build a rhythm around community events and engagement.
Providing regular communication, regularly recurring events such as monthly conference calls, online discussions, and face-to-face meetings can help bring your community together, and build social connections and a stronger sense of purpose. These events are a great way to recruit new contributors, provide training and encourage collaboration.
Keeping to a fixed schedule of events is important for consistency. Contributors can skip a meeting knowing that the next one will happen next week or next month.