Serving Communities in Need

Susan TenbyCaravan Studios builds apps that empower local communities to tackle big problems, like finding shelter for domestic abuse survivors and ensuring that kids don’t go hungry.

With more than 16 years of experience, Susan Tenby heads up community efforts for the organization, bringing app developers and non-profits together to serve communities in need. She is also the founder of #OCTRIBE, the biggest online community meetup in San Francisco, which turns 10 years old this month. Plus:

  • How Caravan Studios determines which issues to dedicate resources to
  • The history of #OCTRIBE
  • Mentoring in community management

Big Quotes

“I found myself in this very difficult position of having to bridge the community of app developers with the non-profit community, and figure out a way that they would talk to each other, because I was really noticing that app developers were building stuff at hackathons that they thought was cool, but the things that they were building were not actually things non-profits needed or could use.” -@suzboop

“The main thing with mentoring is to create a space that gives them unique access outside of just being an ordinary community manager. Give them your time and answer their questions. And above all, help make connections for people that you’re mentoring, so that you aren’t just telling them to do stuff for you, you’re actually providing them with value and access to your network.” -@suzboop

“I want to make sure that I remain relevant by learning from [the person I’m mentoring], because she knows stuff I don’t know, and I’ve learned a ton from her. It’s a really rewarding exchange.” -@suzboop

“A lot of people make assumptions about what the users want, but we’re the ones that actually know what the users want, and there’s a really great responsibility in that. I love the challenge of being able to be the outward-facing voice of an organization and the ear from the people to organization. I love having my ear to the community.” -@suzboop

About Susan Tenby

Susan Tenby has worked in online community management for 16 years and has been active in social media since 2006. She is the original founder of the TechSoup Community Forums; managing, running, and founding online communities since 1997, when she launched her first online community for young women with cancer.

As TechSoup’s online community and social media director, she was responsible for the strategy behind the community team’s promotion and management, as well as direction of the TechSoup Community Forums, interactive events, brand evangelism, digital storytelling and social media channels. TechSoup works specifically with nonprofits and libraries to provide useful technology interventions.

She is a founding member of Caravan Studios, a new division of TechSoup. There she develops strategic partnerships and increases social media engagement through their online community efforts, including a new community for Caravan Studios supporters that bridges app developers and nonprofits to create tech solutions that solve real-world problems.

Susan is the founder of the biggest online community meetup in San Francisco, #OCTRIBE, where community managers meet to learn best practices and network with each other.

Finally, she founded the Nonprofit Commons in Second Life, a community of nonprofit leaders in the virtual world of Second Life, where the avatar-members are the creators of all the content in the sim (or the location within the community). This community has over 2,000 members, and has been holding weekly town hall meetings for more than 6 years. In her free time, Susan consults on social media.

Related Links

In order of reference:


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