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The Common Blog


Historically we have relied on good ol’ fashioned email to communicate needs to members, but knew there were other ways we could use to broadcast Project and Marketplace posts. We wanted to maximize efficiency, but not get too complicated in the process…

RSS, or “Really Simple Syndication”, is a way to publish frequently updated works in a standard format. It’s widely used and therefore is easy to plug it into websites and social media networks to provide an automatic stream of content. Starting today, every community on has access to its own RSS feed that can be used to publish real-time opportunities across the web.

What does this mean? Being able to publish needs on, say, your facebook wall, allows you to connect with people in new ways. They see more opportunities (the posts come from all ability categories and the Marketplace) and it shows up in a place where they’re already looking to connect. Syncing with your twitter account sends real-time notifications to your followers of what’s happening in your community. And by adding the RSS feed to your website, you have constantly updated content of the available opportunities to serve versus a static list that you have to generate.

In all, we believe this change is going to have a dramatic impact on how need is shared and met in your community.

In the next post, we’ll talk about a tool we found that will make sharing your new RSS feed across social sites even easier!


I got off the phone with a community today who is planning on tying their launch of into a huge Day of Service event. I love this, especially as it is such a great, effective way to gain mass involvement with the tool while making a dramatic impact on the community (we could discuss who the bigger recipients are with those events, but I’ll save that for another post).

They know from past experience that people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Daniel Pink talks about ’Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose’, and I think those absolutely come into play here. (There’s an RSA Animate video on this that’s incredibly entertaining, but again, that’s for another post…). The point is, I want to know that what I do–what I’m a part of–is making a difference.

We know that works–we see evidence every day on our Twitter feed. There are always going to be people in a community that are naturally geared toward reaching out to others, offering help wherever they can. For others, it doesn’t come nearly so natural and that’s why we often see Annual Service Projects and Volunteer Fairs. Some need to be nudged in the direction of volunteerism. Campaigns and events work great for an initial push, but they’re also great for providing a sustaining vision. helps by coordinating the movements of the movement, making it easier to grow deeper and reach farther.

So whether a big service event, a grand cause you adopt in your community, or just as an extension of your existing vision, make sure you’re giving a good reason for people to be involved. You’re already doing something bigger–make sure you’re giving people an opportunity to own their part of that purpose and act it out in tangible ways.

If you need some campaign ideas, keep watching the blog for additional posts on a few great resources for educating and motivating your community.

Have you subscribed to the RSS feed? It only takes a second…


Perhaps you just signed up your community on and find yourself wondering ‘what next’, or maybe you’ve been around a while and just need a refresher. We’ve put together this Action Plan based on what has worked best in some of our other communities, taking the necessary elements and breaking them down into simple steps:

Can’t see the image? Click here to download the PDF.

Did your community do it differently? We’d love to hear about it! email:


Our administrator area has a whole new look and feel, including the addition of tutorial videos that walk you through the functionality of the various features there. Want a sneak peek but you’re not an administrator? Check out the videos here. Existing admins, click here.

New Admin Screen


Last week we announced our status as being Trans-Continental–Glenwood is off to a great start and we are honored to be a part of the growth in their community.

Well, this past weekend we had a group in New Zealand join making us multi-hemisphered as well! The Crossing has a beautiful view of what ‘community’ should look like and are engaging with as a way to help out victims of the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ.

We continue to see great things happening state-side as well! We’ve been posting stories to our facebook page (which you should head over to and “like”) and are continuing to see growth and depth in communities all around the USA and Canada. It’s an amazing adventure to see people helping people!

If you have a story to share, we’d love to hear it! Send us a note at


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