Ways you can help your community

Week notes 27 September 2019

Posted on 27 September, 2019

This week...

  • Week 9 in numbers

  • Sent out our second newsletter 

  • Ran a card sort to learn about category naming 

  • Gave users the option to decide where they want to get updates from

  • Added in the option for organisers and the public to suggest an edit to an event 

  • Built out our organiser vision

  • Met with share somewhere 

  • Met UpLift community cafe owner Georgie

  • Gathered new insights from first time event organiser Brew and Chill 

Co-operate background

Stronger communities are at the heart of the Co-op strategy, so we’re going to completely reinvent what commercial, community partnerships should be.

Being a co-op we believe that more co-operation will improve our local communities.

Co-operation is harder than it needs to be, so we're going to make it easier.

The idea is that we build an initial range of tools or features and learn which ones Stretford and Bollington use and which they’re not interested in. These tools need to be as real as we can make them so we can really understand what users do, instead of what they might tell us.

Find out more on our About us page.

Week 9 in numbers  🎉

In June, we set an optimistic OKR to hit 1,000 repeat users between July and September. We didn’t really have a product at the time and we definitely didn’t have an audience. That’s why only 3 days away from deadline day we are ecstatic with the numbers we’ve achieved. 

Despite keeping things lean so that we can learn and iterating quickly, a staggering 785 people in Stretford find value in what we’ve built for their community – enough to come back and see it again! 🙀

We’re still optimistic to hit 1,000 but if not, we’re pretty darn chuffed! 👏

It’s also worth noting again that these numbers are only from the people of Stretford (and now Bollington since launching there a few weeks ago). Bollington is a much smaller community but we’ve generated 263 visits since launch. 

We’re working on a new dashboard to visualise our numbers better as we grow – we’ll share this next week.

Second newsletter sent 

On Thursday we emailed our second newsletter to 220 subscribers in Stretford. It featured hyper local content and was fronted by Dom, our Ukulele and Kazoo loving, guest editor. 

The idea is that a person from the community will guest edit every newsletter. This makes it much more ‘community-owned’ and not something pushed out by Co-op.

This is the time to experiment with content because of our relatively small audience. So we did that in this issue.

The stats show that we’re giving our audience what they need and want at the moment. Our click rate is 624% higher than the industry average.

But we can’t assume to know the kind of content they want, so we’ve asked them in a survey.

We’ve also added a feature that allows people to choose which area they’re in when they sign up for emails. This allows us to send appropriate content to our 2 different audiences.

Ran a card sort to learn about category naming 

This has been in our backlog for a while. 

At the moment there are 6 categories users can search through in Stretford. As more events are added, we’re having to shoehorn events into categories that don’t reflect the event or activity accurately.

So we’ve done a few things to determine what changes we need to make to how we categorise events:

  • Looked at the categories organisers/users are ticking when they use our ‘Add an event’ form – there are 20 to choose from

  • Looked at the stats for the most popular categories. In Stretford these were: Health and wellbeing, Meet new people and Children’s activities

  • Did a card sort with the Content Community of Practice – in pairs people had to group together 18 events in groups that made sense to them. We then asked them to write what they’d call the category

Based on all of the above, we’re going to:

  • rename some of our existing categories

  • add 3 new categories

  • enable categories to be managed in Contentful

Request an edit to an event 

After reviewing some rather helpful user insight from our feedback form, we realised that it wasn’t clear to organisers or the general public how to request an edit to an event.

Our first iteration of this is a simple, ‘is there anything wrong with this event?’ call to action.

So that we’re sure who’s requesting the edit we’ve been able to provide different guidance to organisers and the general public. We’re also tracking this to gain further insight into how often the call to action is interacted with and by which audience segment. 

So if you do happen to see anything wrong with your event or an event that’s listed, look out for the discrete link.

Organiser experience future vision

We’ve been working hard turning the hand drawn wireframes into more realistic looking designs for the vision of what the organiser experience of Co-operate might look like. 

These prototypes and the accompanying stories will help us show how Co-operate could ease current pains, and help organisers, new and experienced, make things happen in their communities. 

Next week, we’ll have the prototypes ready to share. But, for now, here's a few of the work in progress designs.

Where’s Natalie been?

My week began visiting Uplift Cafe in Stretford to meet the owner Georgie. As well as being a fully functioning Cafe, Georgie is keen to make sure that the space is used as a platform for the community. Georgie already runs a number of storytime, rhymetime and children’s craft events from the cafe on a weekly basis. Uplift also hosts an event each week for the group ‘Pure Insight’ who support young people who have come out of the care system. 

One of Georgie’s customers, Emma, approached her to ask if she could use the cafe as a venue to host a community group she was thinking of starting called ‘The Brew and Chill’. Suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety herself, Emma was keen to create a group that could come together and talk about their mental health, offer support and build friendships. The group’s first meeting happened on Thursday evening.

Georgie and Emma have used What’s happening to advertise the event, and thought what Co-operate was trying to achieve would be great for communities. 

“How fantastic that Co-op are empowering communities! It seems too good to be true!” 

Georgie Uplift Cafe

With the team now looking at the strategy for geographical growth, I began looking for organisers in the wider Trafford area, focusing on Urmston and Sale. With this in mind I met with Claire, the organiser of the Urmston 5k Fun Run, which is raising money for The Bone Cancer Research Trust  in memory of a local resident 11 year old Jude, who sadly passed away from the illness in February 2018.

Claire talked about a number of challenges that she faced with organising the event, including poor support from the council and a vast number of documents she had to produce with no understanding of the expectation of what they were to include or look like. Despite the challenges, Claire has found 100 volunteers to help on the day and has 135 participants in only a week, which has boosted her confidence.

She thought that Co-operate could help with providing support and a network for first time organisers and also through simplifying all the information that is out there to make things less overwhelming to do something in your local community.

And that’s a wrap folks.

Get your waterproofs out as it looks like we’re in for a wet week!

Have a good one.


Posted by Rachael on 27 September, 2019