This past year I’ve seen the number of community managers skyrocket….except in the association space. At the same time, in the association space, there seems to have been an explosion of orgs launching white label community platforms. Obviously this costs money–a decent amount of money…yet many associations investing in the technology don’t seem to be making any investment at all in the most important aspect of the community: staff.
If I were a white label community platform vendor, I’d be concerned about this–really concerned. Why? Because for every association that signs a couple year contract and launches a community platform with no staff dedicated to the effort, the likelihood is very high that the association will, in a few years time, declare the platform and/or vendor to be a failure. I get that vendors care about selling product…but I maintain that they should be equally concerned about ensuring that the sale and relationship will last more than a few years–the time it takes an un-staffed community to languish and die. By not emphasizing the importance of dedicating staff resources to the new technology, vendors are pretty much ensuring that, a few years down the line, the expense of the technology will be on the chopping block come budget time because there’s no activity in the community.