Tips for Building the Strategic Foundation of Your VC-Led Community

Building a successful VC-led community is more than hosting events; it requires strategic planning and a focus on curation.

We’re sharing some tips for laying the foundation of your community, transforming it into a vibrant network of engaged individuals. From crafting unique content to balancing virtual and in-person interactions, we explore key elements that contribute to community growth and sustainability.

It's important to understand that a calendar of events does not automatically translate to a genuine community. To strengthen this foundation, focus on customizing content to specific needs and find a balanced approach between online and in-person engagements. Use data-driven insights to better understand and address your community's preferences and enrich your community's identity by refining unique interactions that set it apart. Also, recognize strategic moments to outsource tasks, contributing to the development of a self-sufficient community with a specialized team. With these insights, you're not just hosting events; you're actively creating an environment designed for real value, sustainable growth, and positive change.

Female Founders Fund CEO Summit 2023

Female Founders Fund’s 2023 CEO Summit. Learn more about this event in 'Case Studies'.

A Calendar of Events isn't the Same as a Community of People

Distinguishing between a mere calendar of events and a thriving community is crucial.

Time is a precious commodity for founders, emphasizing the need for quality over quantity in community engagements. Every touchpoint and experience should be crafted to meet the distinctive needs and expectations of community members. Assess whether a flagship event like a retreat or a summit aligns with your community's essence or if resources are better distributed across smaller, more niche, events held frequently throughout the year such social networking receptions. Strategically determine what best resonates with your community.

Content is the Cornerstone of Community Success

The foundation of your community is built on content.

Tailor your content design to be hyper-specific, addressing what your community wants to discuss, learn, and how they prefer to interact. The key is to make your content so uniquely suited to your community that it feels irreplaceable elsewhere. While the content itself may not always take center stage, you should sense that there's nowhere else to find a comparable conversation or insight. How would you define the distinctive content your community seeks?

During the community strategy phase, delve into understanding your community's composition, finding ways to serve them in harmony with their routines, and identifying their specific content preferences. For example, first-time founders might value educational content and networking, while seasoned founders may seek inspiration and organic discussions with like-minded peers.

Scale Strategically with Data

Achieving scalability in a bottom-up community, one that is self-sufficient, is the ultimate goal.

This autonomy allows you to allocate your time and resources to execute exceptional events, such as a founders' retreat or summit. To make well-informed decisions about shaping your community, leveraging data becomes imperative.

Move beyond basic metrics like RSVPs and click rates; inquire directly with your community members. Understand their schedules, the time they can dedicate to community engagement, and their preferred modes of interaction. Uncover their content and conversation preferences through surveys or personal conversations. Building a comprehensive image of your community members empowers you to make more informed decisions that contribute to the community's growth and success.

VC-led Communities that Drive Value and Scale

Pro Tip! Build a Custom Strategy

Perfect your community strategy with a personalized private session with Happily and Back Pocket.

In this exclusive 1:1 collaboration, engage with industry-leading experts in community building to craft a comprehensive strategy that aligns with your community vision and business goals.

Your tailored deliverables extends beyond insights. Your bespoke package includes a detailed 2024 metrics analysis, a personalized user journey for your community members, a custom 2024 events budget based on your resources, and a pilot program plan to set the stage for successful implementation. This isn't just a session; it's your roadmap for community success.

More info here

Create a Hybrid Community Experience

In an age dominated by digital connectivity, you must harmonize virtual platforms with face-to-face interactions.

Flourishing communities recognize the varied preferences and needs of their diverse participants, creating a dynamic and hybrid environment. Virtual interactions offer unparalleled global accessibility, capitalizing on cost-effectiveness and time efficiency. Conversely, in-person engagements forge deeper, more personal connections despite being more resource-intensive.

Identify the distinct roles of your virtual touchpoints like Slack channels, newsletters, or webinars, and in-person engagements such as annual retreats or social mixers. This will allow you to understand the value propositions and return on investment for each format.

Design Signature Interactions to Set your Community Apart

Crafting and perfecting an interaction that is unique to your community is a valuable asset. This is a task that doesn’t require a lot of budget - just a little bit of creativity.

For example, anytime you go around the room and do intros, there can be a signature way that you do that. At Happily, we’ll ask “What made you happy today?” or if there’s more time for intros, “What’s your favorite moment in events and why?”, because that’s a part of our brand. What questions or activities could be reflective of your brand and culture?

Once you see increasing engagement and traction, shift your focus from merely keeping costs down to a more compelling and productive endeavor—strategizing for growth. Avoid getting stuck in a routine that doesn't contribute meaningfully to the community's expansion; instead, channel your efforts into innovative and growth-oriented thinking.

Build a Specialized Team for Community Success

Community building, strategy development, and event execution demand a substantial investment of time, resources, and skills. Acknowledge that you don't have to master every aspect.

Identify when, where, and how to outsource tasks, both significant and minor, as well as skills that may not align with your strengths. While aiming for a self-sufficient and self-generating community is the ultimate objective to optimize resources and time, building a robust foundation with a specialized team is crucial for reaching that goal.

For more on Happily’s Fractional hiring services, visit here.