2021 is coming to a close — this year has flown by! It feels like just yesterday that we hosted the 24 Days of Community on our forum (remember that?), and that was in November last year.
So much has happened in the community industry as a whole over the past 12 months. We knew things were trending in a good direction for community, but didn’t fully appreciate the rapid rate of growth and change over the course of the past year.
We’ve seen hundreds (if not thousands!) of companies hire for community roles (and not just Community Manager roles — Community Operations, Engagement, Events, Success... the list goes on), and new communities launched at orgs of all stages and sizes. Well-deserved promotions were achieved. Actual community-specific budgets were established!
We’re already seeing early trends from our Community-Led survey that perfectly illustrate this point. For example, so far we’ve learned that 50% of pre-seed through Series A companies had no Community team in 2020 and established them this year — and almost all of them are planning on hiring more Community pros in 2022. Even well-established orgs (Series B through IPO) significantly expanded their Community teams in 2021, and 55% of them are planning on adding additional Community headcount in 2022.
We’ll be releasing the full results of our survey early next year (to everyone who has already responded, ✨ thank you! ✨ If you haven’t yet, it would mean the world if you could fill it out here).
As for The Community Club, 2021 has been a really big year for us. We’ve managed to launch so many incredible initiatives — and we’d never have been able to do so without your continued support! Let’s take a walk down recent-memory lane...
In January, we released the Community-Led Declaration, a statement about the importance of community and how it impacts entire organizations, and a promise to support and adequately resource communities and the teams supporting them.
This was the backbone of much of our community-focused work this year. It was the primary focus of our 2021 summit, and many of the community events and content were dedicated to helping non-community folks and community pros alike understand the true value that community can bring to an organization when given the opportunity to thrive.
Speaking of the summit: hundreds of you attended our summit earlier this year, and your excitement and enthusiasm were, hands-down, the highlight of the whole event! Over three days, more than 30 community pros shared their knowledge and experience in 28 insight-packed sessions, and the learnings I was personally able to take from them were invaluable. If you missed it or just want a refresh, you can catch up on all the recordings on our YouTube channel, or head over to a summary of some key learnings on our blog.
Class was officially in session starting April 2021, and our Community Education team has done a phenomenal job of launching a career-changing series of courses since then. An impressive 50 students will have graduated from our various programs by the end of Jan (if you’re reading this, C School Alum, you’re awesome!) and have gone on to make some major strides, including landing plum community roles.
If you’ve been itching to upskill in the new year, our Career Track (for aspiring CMs) and Coaching Track (for CMs with 1-3 years of experience) courses kick off in Jan, and applications are still open. 🚀
2022 will be a formative year for C School, and we may or may not have a big launch scheduled in Q1... so watch this space for more. 👀
If you’re a regular reader of our content, chances are you’ve read plenty of the Creator Guild’s incredible work.
The Guildies, as we like to call them, are community pros at all stages of their careers and from different sectors of our ever-evolving industry who share their experiences, strategies, learnings, and more to elevate community as a whole through this program.
They’ve produced some amazing work this year (have you read Willa Tellekson-Flash's How to Approach Topics That Might Be Seen As 'Uncomfortable' in Your Community? Or Jenny Weigle's The Secrets Behind Successful Surprise and Delight Campaigns?) and it’s something I'm really excited to continue in the coming year. There’s so much to learn from all of these fabulous individuals!
We’re opening applications back up in Q1, and if you want to share your expertise and have the support of a Content team behind you, please apply!
With so many job openings and really fantastic opportunities in the industry, we overhauled our Talent Network and started offering Recruiting services to support job seekers and companies looking to hire the best community pro for the job. With your help, we’ve gotten a really good feel for what exceptional job descriptions look like, what fair compensation practices should be, role responsibilities, and a whole host of other crucial details to ensure that companies and job seekers have aligned expectations wherever possible.
We’d never have been able to achieve what we have done this year without you — and we wanted to come up with a community-centric way to say thank you.
So, for every subscriber of our two newsletters, The Community Club Weekly and Commsor newsletter (there are more than 5,000 of you!), we’re donating $1 to Love For Our Elders. Love For Our Elders is a pretty incredible charity that facilitates letter-writing campaigns for elderly folks battling with loneliness.
Understandably, this time of year is not a particularly easy one for those in that category — many of them are separated from loved ones right now (thanks, Covid) or don’t have a familial support system. We love that Love For Our Elders helps these folks feel a sense of community. We hope our donation — and all the letters we’re writing to them — will go some way towards giving these elders the gift of community.
We’d love it if you’d consider writing your own letter too. The org features a rotating list of folks who need a little extra love — head over here to meet them. You can also nominate an elderly person you know who you think might appreciate a letter or two this time of year here.
So, all that said: thank you for a wonderfully rewarding year of The Community Club. Your knowledge, support, and kindness truly make this community my favorite place to be. ❤️
A very happy New Year to you and your loved ones,