Lessons in community-building from Windsor Leadership
About Windsor Leadership
Windsor Leadership is a UK charity providing transformational experience-led leadership development programmes for senior leaders across all sectors. The organisation has inspired and transformed thousands of participants across corporate, public, military, education, faith, government and not-for-profit, growing a vibrant and diverse network of alumni.
They sought to create a place where alumni could safely communicate, network, and develop relationships—Community from Gravyty provided the tools to build that space.
Since launching its Community from Gravyty platform in 2015, Windsor Leadership has succeeded in cultivating a vibrant and active online alumni community:
- Over 2,000 alumni have joined and are active on the alumni platform
- At least a 10% response rate to communications regarding events
- High attendance at 2020/21 online events
- Multiple “quadruple alumni” (repeat programme attendees)
- Positive feedback from members who feel the platform provides valuable networking opportunities that would not exist otherwise
Keeping “Community” alive at Windsor Leadership
Windsor Leadership alumni are heads of department, C-suite and upwards. They needed a safe and secure place to meet one another online. As members of the Community platform, they sign in with their LinkedIn account or email address and enjoy a closed community for members only.
Read the complete case study
The links of leadership: Connect, inspire + transform your leadership Community
While some question the benefit of a networking space incorporating members from such diverse fields Windsor Leadership recognises that leadership challenges at peer level are very similar regardless of sector. The diversity of its network is actually its strength. As members move around the world according to the dictates of their careers and lives, an online platform serves their purposes brilliantly.
How they did it
To keep its platform thriving, Windsor Leadership found it essential to offer plenty of inspiring content, mentoring and coaching provision and regular communication, both within the platform and externally.
Use their ideas to inspire your own community-building efforts:
- Plug the platform at every available opportunity
When launching something new, it is essential to get the word out at every opportunity.
Windsor Leadership used a combination of social media posts (on each of their well-used platforms) and personal emails to publicise the presence of the platform as widely and frequently as possible. In addition, the network is mentioned in person at the close of every programme and event they run.
- Draw people in with excellent coaching and mentoring opportunities
Many alumni have reached the pinnacles of their careers and are more than willing to give back and support less experienced leaders.
Community from Gravyty has enabled Windsor Leadership to promote high-level online coaching and mentoring opportunities that cross the barriers of time and location.
Success story: Vicar aims high!
One member of the community—a church vicar—aimed high when seeking mentors who could help him grow and improve his leadership. After reaching out on the platform, he found four excellent mentors who greatly exceeded his expectations, including a chief executive of a major bank and an archbishop.
- Provide a selection of online programmes to extend and complement face to face offerings
While the core of Windsor Leadership’s offering is its in person residential leadership development programmes, the organisation greatly boosted its online offerings during the pandemic. Online programmes like Live-Online now offer people the convenience of not having to travel and have proved hugely popular.
- Don’t be a stranger—keep up the contact as much as you can
Everyone is busy, and however great your platform is, you need to constantly remind people of your existence if you want them to frequent the platform. Here’s how Windsor Leadership stays in touch.
- Email—using MailChimp to reach out to the members in their database, they always use their CRM to check whether the member has opted in to receive emails as per GDPR laws.
- Newsletter—Alumni receive a quarterly newsletter, and non-alumni a bi-annual newsletter.
- Blogs—The blog is a vibrant space with fresh new content posted on a regular basis. Content focuses on leadership insights and areas that are known to be of interest to members. New content is pushed via in-platform messaging and social media.
- Case studies—Inspiring stories of post-programme leadership impact s are converted into case studies which are regularly shared on the platform and the website.
- Rebranding—Windsor Leadership recently rebranded its website to keep it fresh and incentivise people to visit and read about the organisation’s offerings.
- Social media—the charity is active on a number of social media channels and uses this valuable tool to draw people to the website and encourage alumni to join the network.
Your force for digital member communities
Take your organization’s community engagement virtual and leverage the power of your employee, volunteer, or member communities to drive engagement, event participation, networking and in return keep them happy, involved, enriched and motivated with Community from Gravyty.