90%+ of Members Felt Less Alone After Joining This Community

Sue Ryder, a well-known charity in the UK, provides support for end of life care and bereavement. In 2015, after more than 60 years of operation, they launched an online community.

For a majority of the its members, the community serves as the first touch point between them and the organization. Not only that, but in a survey, more than 90% of members said that the community made them feel less alone and more able to cope with their situation. Community manager Priscilla McClay joins the program. Plus:

  • The research that led to the launch of the community
  • How the community has shifted to focus primarily on bereavement
  • What Priscilla does to cope with the nature of the community

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Big Quotes

“It is okay to be affected by [difficult issues in the community], to find [them] emotional. You don’t have to be some professional robot. In fact, if you’re the kind of person who’s not at all affected by it then maybe, you’re not really the kind of person who would get much out of working on a charity support network community.” -@MillionMonkeys

“It is important to debrief sometimes and to talk about the most difficult issues. To be able to switch off as well. Like with any kind of community or social media job, there is a temptation to take it home with you because it’s extremely easy to access from anywhere. … I had to try and be really strict with myself about my holidays, my off days and my evenings, not to get dragged into it because … it could take over your life.” -@MillionMonkeys

“I did want a career where I was really making a difference and helping to support people. Although a lot of people, having a look at the community and seeing the [conversation] titles, would go, ‘Oh my God. This is bleak and this is hard going.’ And it is. But there are great things that happen there as well. … People are so relieved to find other people who are in similar situations.” -@MillionMonkeys

“One of the things I really need to think through is how do we make sure that anyone who’s in our superuser or volunteer program doesn’t feel obligated to do too much or to just have to give and not take as it were, or to feel overwhelmed by the task of supporting others. There might be times when they need to take a step back from other people’s sadness. I want to be very careful to set up a way where there’s enough of them and also they feel supported enough by Sue Ryder or by me as the community manager that they don’t find the role too much for them.” -@MillionMonkeys

About Priscilla McClay

Priscilla McClay has a BA in English literature and creative writing and a master’s in journalism. She has spent seven years working in digital in the non-profit sector, five of which were in community management. Prior to Priscilla’s current job at Sue Ryder, she worked in the community team at Macmillan Cancer Support.

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