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We’re changing our online community – to make it your online community!

2 August 2016

In this blog Steve Keene, our digital manager, talks us through the improvements we will be making to our Online Community.

Changes-are-comingBringing people together

Every year we award millions of pounds of the National Lottery’s good cause money across the UK. We know that money makes a huge difference, but we also think there is a real opportunity to do even more to support those we have funded.

I hear lots of stories about groups delivering really valuable work who would like to speak to other groups. They would like to learn from them, pick their brains, share knowledge, problems and opportunities. Sometimes that happens through existing networks. Sometimes it is hard to reach the right people.

Our aim to improve the online community

We think we’re really well placed to bring those groups together, so they can help each other. We’ve begun a project to make major improvements to our online community to do this.

We’ve spoken to groups we’ve funded, we’ve spoken to our staff who work with groups we’ve funded every day and we’ve looked at the stats and evidence we already have. From all that evidence, it’s clear that there is one clear and simple purpose for our online community:

The online community will be a peer to peer networking tool for groups that we’ve funded.

How do we want you to be involved in this?

Over the next few months we’ll be keeping you up to date and telling you the story of how we are making these improvements. We’ll explain why we’re making changes, and why now. We’ll explain how we’ve tried to understand what you, our users, want. And we’ll talk about how we’re going to approach this work in a new way for the Big Lottery Fund.

Most importantly we’ll be speaking with you! We want your input on our online community. Your comments will help shape what we do and how we do it. The online community is for groups we’ve funded, so we want those same people at the heart of the process of improving it.

A few questions to get things started:

  • Does our purpose The online community will be a peer to peer networking tool for groups that we’ve funded sound good to you?
  • What communities or networks are you already involved in, online or in the real world? And how do they help?
  • What sort of discussions would you like to take place on the online community? What would help you?

Thank you!




10 Comments leave one →
  1. 2 August 2016 11:03 am

    Thanks Steve – that sounds really interesting, particularly when there is also general concern about helping citizens connect as civic infrastructure organisations are under pressure. What is the big difference planned moving to peer-to-peer, and will access be limited to those who have received grants?

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      2 August 2016 1:32 pm

      Thanks for your comment David! In terms of supporting peer-to-peer networking the big difference for us will be in providing a platform that enables that to happen effectively. From listening to current users we know that ease-of-use is really important, and the current community isn’t easy to use. We’ve also begun work on what sort of discussions people want to take place, and we are thinking about how best to support those online.

      We don’t intend the new community to be a ‘closed shop’ for just grant holders. However, we have discovered that supporting grant holders to support each other is a key need. We also know we already support other users, such as applicants, in other ways. We are also aware that it is better to start with one clear goal and build on that, than to try to do everything at once. But, in the spirit of being user-led, we intend for this project to grow and evolve according to our users’ needs, so nothing is set in stone!

      • 2 August 2016 4:27 pm

        Thanks for the speedy reply. I’m particularly interested because a few years back John Popham and I did some work for BLF on the scope for social media and storytelling – – and I’m now returning to the general issue of helping citizens connect, communicate and cooperate. We’ll be looking at how to use social network mapping and analysis, local scenarios and personas. Where best to share stuff, if useful?

  2. 3 August 2016 5:40 am

    I know that photo, it’s one on mine. 😊

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      3 August 2016 11:52 am

      And what a great pic it is!

  3. Big Lottery Fund permalink*
    3 August 2016 9:13 am

    Thanks David. We would love to see any useful information that you have, please send this through to Also we are currently looking for volunteers to become members of our user panel. If you are interested in taking part please get in touch.

  4. 3 August 2016 10:53 am

    Reblogged this on The Big Lottery Fund Scotland Blog and commented:
    We are working on a new improved online community for organisations we’ve funded! Our online community team would love to hear from you about how this should work. Here’s what they have to say…

  5. 4 August 2016 3:18 pm

    Sounds like a great idea. It is more sociable and that has to be a good thing right? Our world is changing and we are all adapting to keep pace with the changes on-line – including the evolution of how we communicate as human beings.

    There is a lot of great work going on out there by some great people. If you can facilitate cross-fertilisation so that new things grow then go for it!

  6. Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland permalink
    5 August 2016 2:59 pm

    Reblogged this on The Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Blog and commented:
    The Big Lottery Fund Online Community is changing to better suit needs. Please have a read and let us know your thoughts by emailing

  7. John Caulfield permalink
    5 August 2016 3:24 pm

    This sounds really good, perhaps a way for more diverse groups to come together for joint projects and events.

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