Have you ever thought about what makes a good network? Not just that you need people to make one and want to be in yourself.

Have you ever thought about the networks you are in? What makes you want to be in them? What is good about them? How are they successful (or not)? What is their purpose?

Have you ever thought about what you can use networks for?

At HouseParty 14 there were a number of sessions run by those wanting to start their own networks (see the photo of the Manchester Urbanista network at HouseParty) and they were all based on a set of key elements, we developed after conducting thorough research last year around building powerful networks for change.

We were asked by everyone who attending our session to release our 10 considerations when building networks for social impact. So here we go- take a deep breath!!!

Think about architecture. Think about the journey those in the network will share. Think about what you need to enable this to happen.

How do you design the architecture of a movement? This is about designing a movement that suits its purpose. This is going to involve: uniting everyone who is a part of it and everything that happens around a common purpose; developing a shared identity grounded by a common experience – part of this is going to be shaped by shared events and consistent marketing messages; and on-going communication flow AND face-to-face contact to strengthen this conviction.

The journey starts the beginning of the experience. What are people going to experience from you? Take the graduate journey for example. The graduate journey isn’t an add on to the initial experience. AND this is communicated to them – their post-experience identity is forged at the outset. Everyone knows why they are there.

To enable a network to be successful you need to consider your brand and communications; CRM and data management; Digital and Social interactions; and financial sustainability.

Most importantly, you need to have a very honest conversation with yourself about why you do are doing it, and whether or not you actually have the capacity to see it through and run it…. (people can sense incongruence a mile away).

So in very quick nutshell- 10 Things for consideration in building a network:
1. Purpose
2. Planning
3. Resources
4. Ownership/ Membership
5. Time
6. Benefits
7. Brand
8. Communications
9. Messaging
10. Honesty

The Social Change Agency have become experts at supporting others to develop their own successful networks based on the above (and a bit more). Please get in touch with any questions!

Esther
Director, The Social Change Agency,
@socialchangeag
The Social Change Agency