The goal of our community is to make sure that “no post goes unanswered.”
Earlier this year, my colleagues and I had a chance to sit down with Lacey Horta, a Senior Support Specialist at the Canadian Cancer Society, and this statement about how they approach managing their online community really stuck with me.
About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is a national, community-based organization dedicated to improving and saving the lives of people affected by cancer. They have taken a comprehensive approach to fight cancer, including:
- Funding research on all types of cancer
- Educating Canadians about early diagnosis and prevention
- Providing support services
- Serve as a political advocate on cancer-related issues
Additionally, CCS is Canada’s largest national charitable fundraiser of research into all types of cancer. At CCS, Lacey and her team enable connections and support among the organization’s members across the country. One of the ways in which they do this is through their online support community, Cancer Connection, which is powered by Personify Community.
About Cancer Connection
This community was created to support not only people with a cancer diagnosis but also their loved ones and currently has more than 8,000 members. Community members can start or join existing discussions categorized by topic or cancer stage, join groups to find like-minded members and have a safe space to discuss difficult issues, exchange messages of support with other community members and even share personal journals in the form of blog posts.
Recently, CCS launched a community mentor program that empowers superusers within the community to gain more education about the platform and welcome new members and help them navigate through the different resources available online. CCS recently conducted a survey among community members and found that 97 percent felt that the community was a place they could trust. This is a tremendous accomplishment and speaks to the value that the organization has created in its online community.
The mission of the Cancer Connection community is to make sure that people who are experiencing cancer do not have to go through it alone. It’s crucial to connect them to other people who are going through something similar so that they can feel supported and hear stories of hope.
One of the things I love about working at Personify is that every day I get to help our nonprofit and association clients achieve their missions and better serve their members. While I’m certainly familiar with the impact an online community can make – as it drives much of what we do – I don’t always get to hear the personal stories of how these communities can truly transform lives.
Online Community Misperceptions
We were especially grateful to have had the opportunity to sit down with Lacey recently as she shared stories of hope she’s witnessed within Cancer Connection. She shared that a common misperception about online communities for specific health concerns is that community members don’t have a support network outside of the community. However, that’s usually not true. Members of Cancer Connection often have a support network filled with friends and family members.
They turn to the online community because they don’t have people in their support network that are going through the same experience of having a cancer diagnosis. So, the community can be really powerful in connecting individuals that would otherwise have a challenging time finding one another.
Lacey sat down with us at PersoniFest to share how the organization uses Personify Community to connect those affected by cancer to one another and shared a powerful story of acceptance and inclusivity.