Building communities has always been at the centre of our lives. From connecting with peers at schools as adolescents to making friends at work as young adults, who we are and how we live have always been shaped by some form of a larger community. It is in acknowledging this importance that Facebook, one of the world’s most innovative game-changers in community building, has made it its mission to equip community leaders with the right tools to grow.

Facebook defines a community as a collection of people, in which they receive a sense of belonging, connection, and feeling of safety, and they give trust and investment over time. Threaded together by identity, interest, location, activity, experience, and institution, Facebook’s onus is to help strengthen communities and foster safe spaces for all.

As such, the social media organisation is launching the 2021 Community Accelerator Program Training, a program that helps leaders harness the power of their community to turn impactful ideas into action.

How the community accelerator works

Emotional well-being, civic engagement, instrumental support — these are only some of the benefits that come with being part of a community. In order to help community leaders foster such nurturing environments that don’t only help enrich the lives of people but also help their respective communities establish and achieve crucial goals, the 2021 Community Accelerator Program Training operates under a three-pronged approach:

  • Training & Coaching: Participants learn how to organize and strengthen their community through custom training, one-on-one coaching and meaningful partnerships.
  • Access to New Products: Participants are granted early access to new products aimed at helping them manage and activate their community.
  • Funding: Facebook works with GlobalGiving to offer participants $50K USD to help fund their community’s initiatives.

Coaching and mentorship under the program will expose participants to world-class experts in business strategy, growth, and operations, who will be imparting key insights and industry expertise regarding relevant matters. Educational content will be focused on developing the business, leadership, and community skills needed to bring the community to the next level. They will also be offering product education and support on community initiative execution.

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Participants will also enjoy early access to new products aimed at helping them manage and activate their respective communities.

Through the programme, participants get to enjoy connections to leaders across the world who are going through similar journeys of building impactful communities through the program’s Global and Regional Facebook groups. Moreover, participants will be introduced to and connected with actors in the local and global ecosystem who can help them achieve their goals. Some of these key stakeholders including funders, corporations, and connectors.

In addition, the Community Accelerator Program Training offers financial support to fuel the initiatives and operations of the communities. Also, with the support of Facebook’s marketing team, the program creates avenues for recognition for participants to tell their stories in. This helps put a spotlight on their efforts to attract future partnerships, it also helps institutionalise and the projects which can ultimately help communities establish credibility and gain traction. Lastly, the program provides a slew of important forms of support carried out through the Facebook platform.

Selection criteria for potential participants

Of course, with all the fantastic communities out there being led by some of the most brilliant and most forward-thinking individuals, the selection of participants is going to be close to impossible. Thankfully, for this accelerator programme, Facebook has streamlined their selection criteria based on several key factors.

To start with, Facebook is looking for the best program fit. This refers to communities and community leaders that seem to be at a good stage of development. These are communities whose goals are generally aligned with regional priorities. The leadership team must also be committed to fully engaging at every stage of the program, must have a good vision for the future of the community, and whose members interact horizontally instead of simply connecting at a network level.

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Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is also an important consideration given the variety of communities out there that need the opportunity for growth. Communities must have a clear purpose and understands how such purpose positively impacts the lives of their members and the larger society beyond it. The leadership team should have clear and defined ways of working that are distributed across the organisation, leveraging volunteers in a recurrent and significant manner.

Another key indicator for potential participants is the sustainability of these communities, whether this is being prioritised by the leadership team, and what steps they have taken towards keeping the communities sustainable. Other important factors that are also going to be largely considered are activities, regional goals, and product fit.

Partnership with e27

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with e27 once again this year for the Community Accelerator Program, and looking forward to welcoming this year’s cohort as we help these leaders build thriving communities,” said Grace Clapham, APAC Community Partnerships Director.

This is the second year that the Facebook Community Accelerator will be partnering with e27. Last year, the social media organisation partnered with e27 to capture the company’s community-building expertise and vast network, particularly in the Asia Pacific. Coming from last year’s leg, we saw how collaborations between Facebook communities have yield better impact in terms of meeting intersecting goals across different verticals.

This year’s partnership between the two community-building leaders is poised to achieve similar success, which is fitting considering e27’s role as one of APAC’s go-to platforms for news, community, events, talent, funding, and more.

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“It is in our DNA to work with small organisations and enable them to succeed. As a community ourselves, we understand the pains of growing a community and know how to solve them,” said e27 CEO and Co-Founder, Mohan Belani, about last year’s programme.

Having established countless collaborations and partnerships among community members within its vast network, e27’s active role in the APAC tech startup ecosystem puts it in the best possible position to lead the charge.

2021 Community Accelerator Program Training

The project is a comprehensive training program that will immerse participants in rigorous and often rewarding world of community building. The program will last for approximately six months starting from August 2021 to March 2022.

The event will culminate in a demo day which allows participants to demonstrate their key learnings and to ultimately discuss to the rest of the program the nature of their communities, including the goals they are working towards. Interested participants who meet the criteria and are keen on building purposeful communities may visit their official page for more information.

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Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

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