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TheCommon.org Blog

May
10

When you’re trying to understand a new concept, is it easier to contemplate what the idea could entail, or to see it played out with an example?

With the community-specific RSS feed and a simple embeddable widget, you can replace the static opportunities list on your website or blog with one that is updated in real-time. Now instead of simply sharing the idea of what TheCommon.org could look like in your community, you’re sharing actual needs and Marketplace posts.

RSS Embed Example

There are two things to highlight on the RSS feed:

First, everyone clicking the links will still need to be approved as a member of your community. Admins can save some trouble by adding members via the multi-member upload tool, or at minimum, changing email settings for pre-registered users to “right away”. This will allow those interested in helping a shorter path to actually getting involved.

Second, members will be able to view these posts regardless of whether or not they have the “ability”. Joining the project will also add the ability, so they’ll see future requests as well.

How about you? Do you function better with an example or an unfiltered idea?

May
06

We stumbled upon this beautiful piece of nostalgia in the archives. Back in 2008, our first community—Mars Hill—launched with TheCommon.org. In this 10 minute audio clip, Rob Bell talks about the shared struggle and the beauty of connecting a community around what they have in common:

"We are a community of people with ordinary differences and eccentricities, with gaps and divisions—but what unites us is our common pulse of need…" [read more]

Here is the audio from that morning.

How will you launch TheCommon.org in your community? Check here for more ideas!

May
04

We have a new community in the Holland, Michigan area, and they’ve jumped into TheCommon.org with both feet. In addition to using the Multi-Member Upload tool to connect their volunteer database, and blending with several other communities in their area, CAH has modified their volunteer sign up form to be the login widget for their community. It’s an easier way for them to communicate real-time opportunities to their volunteers without having to navigate databases and call sheets.

Here’s what the widget looks like on their site:

Community Action House Volunteer Page

The other great thing is that they’ve linked up their community posts to their facebook page via our community-specific RSS feed.

Screen shot 2011-05-04 at 2.38.18 PM

Are you wondering how you can get TheCommon.org started in your community or organization? Let us know—we’d love to help out!

Apr
18

I heard from Michael Hyatt a few weeks back that he personally subscribes to 60 different blogs via RSS. 6-0. Now, he admitted that he only skims through most to pick out the few for the day that he wants to really dig into, but there’s something compelling there about his openness to that much information that’s not at all foreign in our society.

Me, I follow 11 blogs by RSS that are all conveniently delivered to my inbox. Add to that the status updates, tweets, and the email forwards from my dad…let’s just say it’s a lot of information.

And it’s all welcome. I love checking in on what helpful insight Tony Morgan has about volunteering and leadership, Kem Meyer about communication, or Seth Godin about creativity and ‘doing’. I follow the guys at Elemental for some inspirational stories and The 99 Percent for motivation to work smarter.

But I also subscribe to my community’s RSS feed on TheCommon.org. I see needs and Marketplace items posted in real-time. Without adding every ability or always keeping TheCommon.org up and running in the background, there isn’t really a way to get this same information, and especially to have it delivered in such a clean format.

Admins: consider making your community’s RSS feed available to the rest of your community! It’s an incredible way to empower those information junkies about something good and helpful that could have lasting implications for your community. I recommend a quick two step process:

1. Go to Integration Options and copy your RSS feed address.

2. Email your community members with the RSS address and an invitation for them to subscribe.

In addition to having it on your website and social networks, this is a great way to encourage more connections in your community!

Apr
09

If you read our previous post, you’ll know that we now offer administrators a community-specific RSS feed of every need and Marketplace item posted in a community. That feed can be used to publish opportunities out to social media and websites, blogs, email inboxes, and so on.

Many communities have tech teams that are familiar with RSS technology and know exactly how to get this integrated. They know that Tumblr or WordPress, for instance, have features built in to publish RSS feeds. They’ll know that you can insert an RSS feed into facebook to publish as notes with a few moderately-complicated steps here. They might even know about the plethora of plugins available to embed an RSS widget into a website, interject posts in a twitter feed, and so on.

But for the less tech savvy, we wanted to highlight tool we found that will makes it all very simple.

dlvrit.logo.cropped

Dlvr.it (deliver it) is a content syndication tool that allows you to auto post an RSS feed to facebook, twitter, and a ton of other social media sites for free. Creating an account is as easy as entering an email address and choosing a password—super easy. You’ll need your custom RSS feed address (Admins, go here), as well as the login id and password for the social media sites where you want to publish the posts.

With dlvr.it, you can customize the way the feed is posted, append messages with specific hash tags or comments, and customize the format for the post. For those who like to view metrics, dlvr.it has a ‘stats’ section that will show you how well people are interacting with your RSS feed.

Please note that this is not a paid endorsement for dlvr.it: simply put, of the tools we researched, this one had the greatest focused functionality and a price that can’t be beat (it’s free, in case you missed that part earlier).

If you’re an administrator and you would like some additional guidance, send us a note and we’d be happy to help get you started.

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How can TheCommon.org help my community?

There are tons of ways TheCommon.org helps your community! We offer a unique platform for needs to meet abilities and abilities to meet needs! We'll help your community build and strengthen itself, using its most valuable asset: its members! We create a comfortable safe atmosphere for building community, meeting needs, using your abilities... and even saving your community money!