Building Community With Your Community

How to create clear contribution opportunities

Taylor Harrington
Groove With Us
4 min readSep 13, 2022


There are all sorts of creative job titles in the community field. While my formal title at Groove is Head of Community, I love to identify as a Community Architect.

To me, the term “Community Architect” captures the idea that we create the blueprints and work closely with the product team to build the foundation. Once the foundation is built and things are safe around there (no broken nails and some basic house rules are created), early adopters (aka your first community members) can come inside and help build the rest. They can grab a paintbrush and paint the walls or suggest how one of the empty rooms could be used; they can make it feel like theirs.

Effective community building doesn’t look like serving it up on a silver platter and saying, “Here, member. Enjoy.” No, great community leaders don’t make final products and then say look I built this, enjoy it, period. They build with their members. Member contribution is expected and encouraged.

Community leaders build with their community members ☺️

There are a few ways we’ve leaned into creating this type of building at Groove that might be helpful for current or future Community Architects:

Learn your members’ preferred methods of contribution

Straight up ask them! Create a Google form asking for members’ names, emails, and how they prefer to contribute as an early community member. For example, “Be interviewed by the Groove team for a feature on our Medium blog or a podcast” or “Connect the Groove team to folks you think would benefit from knowing about Groove (perhaps they run a community you think would love Groove)”.

Now that I have this, I can refer to it when projects come up and think, “Huh, I should ask this person because they already said they’re into this sort of thing.” This is a great thing to include in a milestone celebration email to help them take things to the next level.

Create specific volunteer programs

Often, community leaders will advocate for community ambassador programs. I’ve found that at this stage at Groove, it’s been more helpful for us to start a few different volunteer programs with a singular purpose, as opposed to having ambassadors fulfill a list of different responsibilities.

For our lowest level of commitment, volunteer program, we have a dedicated product feedback crew inside our community’s Slack channel. It’s a private group. Folks opted into being a part of it. When we want direct feedback on something related to the product, we’ll share it in there first before opening it up to the wider community.

For our next level of commitment, we have our Test Flight crew. This is a very small group of members who said they’d be interested in testing out new product features and would look out for anything funky going on, before we release that version of our mobile app to the wider community.

And, last, but certainly not least, we just launched our Welcome Crew. These Groovers host two scheduled Grooves per week to onboard new Groovers and help them feel welcomed. You can meet those crew members and read more about their responsibilities here.

Keep everyone in the loop with a shared roadmap

Staying in the know is a great way for community members to become more invested in your community. At Groove, they understand where we’re heading and what steps we’re taking to get there. Having a shared product roadmap can also help them see how suggestions they may have provided are being implemented or considered by the team.

We share our roadmap loud and proud in our Slack community, our FAQ, community newsletter, and feature emails. It’s updated once a quarter. Sometimes, we also write Medium articles about upcoming features listed on the roadmap to help Groovers learn more about why we made the choices we did and the level of community research that went on to inform that decision. For example, check out more about our orbit features here.

The future of your community is dependent on listening and implementing what you hear. As a Community Architect, it’s my responsibility to build enough, without building too much.

To all my fellow community leaders out there, let’s keep building spaces with our members, instead of for them while being upfront and clear about how they can contribute. Once members know how they can help, they’ll be even more willing to jump in.

If you liked this article, check these out:

  1. What We’ve Learned After Four Months of No Social Media
  2. A Groovy Glossary
  3. Or, if you’re a solo worker looking to get sh*t done and have a good time while you’re at it ➡️



Taylor Harrington
Groove With Us

Head of Community @ Groove 💃🏼🕺🏼 Love bringing people together ✨ Curious about the future of work, community, & online learning 🤔 Board game player + reader