If you have visited Austin, Texas you may recall that we love to talk about Austin. There is something special about this town. The first session I attended at SXSW Interactive was ‘Why Austin is the Killer App’ moderated by Heather McKissick and Bijoy Goswami the founders of Austin Equation.
Austin Equation is trying to determine the ingredients that make Austin so extraordinary and the equation they have come up with is Experience + Community = Scene. They theorize that multiple vibrant scenes in an accepting environment are what make Austin remarkable. I believe that you can apply this equation to non-profits and cultivate a fan base as devoted to your cause as Austinites are devoted to preserving the uniqueness that is Austin, Texas.
A recent study by Ryan Howell touts that experience makes people happier than possessions, and that we would rather participate than purchase.
What kinds of experiences can you/do you offer your constituents that relate to your cause?
How can you make your events, volunteer days etc. unique, relevant and special for those who participate?
How do can you promote the community aspect of your events?
What sorts of activities help facilitate a sense of community?
What sort of social currency can you trade with your constituents or can your constituents trade between each other? How can you facilitate that?
What tools are out there for you to organize your constituents or for your constituents to organize others around experiences/events related to your cause?
How can you use Twitter, Facebook and other online tools to foster a community related to your cause?
What content is needed to build a community around your cause?
Community feeds experience and experience feeds community. Create a scene around your cause and you might be able to get as many evangelists as Austin, well maybe… this town is pretty great.