What exactly is a “meaningful” community?

This past Friday I was given the opportunity to do a small guest post for a local community here in Fort Collins, called “Community Catalysts.”

The network is run by this amazing community expert and teacher – Darrick Hildman.

I’ve placed my full interview in the image below, but he asked me a question I think is worth a good amount of introspection and exploration for your own community…

“What does a ‘meaningful community’ look like to you?”

In my response, I started with some silly response about how important it is that we be focused on the mission and values of our community, but before I knew it, I was second-guessing what he meant by “meaningful“.

The only way I could answer the question was by comparing the communities I’ve built to my family and friends.  The people in my life mean something.  And my answer surprised even me:

There is a progression in your community’s relationship with your members. 

A “useful” community provides value to its members.

A “successful” community accomplishes the goals and mission of that community, by imparting value to its members.

An “engaged” community encourages relationships to grow beyond the value a member initially desires and encourages them to give back.

But the #1 metric I use to determine how “meaningful” a community is… 


A member’s willingness to disclose more about themselves shows a genuine affinity with other members. A meaningful community is exemplified in those moments when a person’s relationship with others in the community transcends the community’s purpose or the value-added engagement that keeps them interacting. A meaningful community creates a real feeling of affiliation that proves to a member that this is where they want to spend their time.

Creating a space for self-disclosure is hard

Creating a plan that fosters a meaningful community is just as important as making one that performs according to the goals of the brand.  It requires a plan and a good amount of thought.

Clearly, I hadn’t thought about it enough.

So, I thought I’d pay it forward to you – what tactics are you using to create “meaning” in the hearts and minds of your community members?  How are you making the community better?

And while you’re thinking about it, I invite you to read the rest of my post, join us in the community catalyst group and check out Darrick’s new consultancy!

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Venia Logan

I’ve spent the past 9 years learning the diverse skills necessary to create strong stable online communities that put your brand’s services at their center. ​​I started my own YouTube channel in 2010, and RESCQU.NET in 2013. I worked for Constant Contact, and returned to college for a specialization in online community management. Then I attained all 12 certifications from DigitalMarketer and helped dozens of communities. Spend fewer resources advertising to cold contacts or buying paid media and get back to focusing on what you love by growing a community that is financially and socially rewarding for you.