Making developmental funding more transparent
with IATI Connect
IATI Connect is a new global online community by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
With the help of Open Social, IATI created an inviting online space for their Communities of Practice to explore developmental and humanitarian spending data, exchange knowledge, build new networks and connect with a multitude of stakeholders.
“IATI is much more than numbers and data. At the heart of the initiative are its people. The IATI community brings together governments, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and civil society organizations from all over the world.”
– IATI Connect
Creating community engagement around data transparency
Migrate from Discuss
IATI had an initial online community space on its Discuss platform.
With IATI Connect the aim was to create a more dynamic and interactive platform ensuring connections between a wide range of stakeholders. These include:
- Publishers and users of data
- Open data experts
- Transparency advocates
- Technical specialists
With the new platform, anyone with an interest in the field of open data and transparency is welcome to join the community.
Build spaces for Communities of Practice
IATI wanted to launch their newly-established Communities of Practice (CoP) as open and freely accessible communities that can evolve around areas of shared interests.
The main CoPs are centered around the following topics:
- Data use: For users of IATI data on development and humanitarian spending, including civil society organizations and partner-country governments.
- Data publishing: For organisations who publish IATI data, including aid organizations and donor governments.
- Technical issues: For technical specialists and data experts to help make the best use of IATI’s open data initiative.
Create member engagement and collaboration
It was essential that the new IATI Connect platform should offer a full range of community interactions and engagement. This would empower members to:
- Share expertise
- Exchange knowledge about open data
- Expand their networks
- Stay up to date with news and events
- Contribute to IATI consultations
- Collaboration on documents
- Access online learning resources
- and more!
IATI wanted to put their principles of openness, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing into practice with this community.
Open Social’s Solution
IATI Connect for Communities of Practice
By migrating from the platform on Discuss to Open Social, IATI Connect could become a more open and engaging community.
In November 2020 IATI Connect officially launched, welcoming members to a new community space filled with events, online resources and endless possibilities for connecting with one another.
Making the community user-friendly
Open Social’s modern design helps the community feel more open and accessible to a wide range of stakeholders.
Working closely together to create new features
IATI continues to work closely with Open Social to develop new and interesting features to add to the platform. For example, Open Social is currently working on a new feature that will allow community members to crosspost content between groups and create even more connections!
Welcoming new members
On IATI Connect there is ample space for new members to get to know the community without feeling intimidated. Onboarding is promoted with a range of community guides, user manuals and learning resources. Moreover, IATI has launched a monthly newsletter, called the ‘Snapshot’ that includes information on any relevant activities across the platform and a vlog built using the Dashboard extension.
Creating spaces for IATI Communities of Practice has allowed members to focus on their interests and create self-organized groups.
Spaces for Communities of Practice
Each CoP has its own individual group space on IATI Connect where members can network and exchange knowledge around special interest topics.
Each CoP group page includes:
- Detailed description of the CoP goals
- Thematic scope
- Activities and events
- Latest content stream
IATI wanted to make clear to members that within each CoP they can also create new groups on their own or request special groups to be facilitated on the platform.
New groups create unique spaces for stakeholders to connect around specific niche topics. It also allows IATI Connect to become a space for sub-communities to form organically.
IATI Connect members can take full advantage of the new platform with Open Social’s unique collaboration and content creation tools.
Promoting user-generated content
Along with creating their own self-sustaining groups, Open Social’s suite of tools empowers IATI Connect members to create various kinds of content themselves. This includes creating events and sharing topics within their groups.
Creating engagement with Discussions
With the Discussions extension, anyone can host moderated and time-bound online discussions around specific topics related to different CoPs. This helps create conversation and support collaboration to strengthen the impact and quality of IATI data initiative worldwide.
Creating a repository of shared knowledge
Using the Resource Library extension, IATI can maintain a repository of knowledge products and expertise from across IATI’s network on IATI Connect.
This resource library is easy to navigate, allowing members to find content according to:
- and more
“Transparency is at the heart of what IATI does. Therefore it is logical this would be a prerequisite for our community platform. The open nature of IATI Connect is a major improvement to our community infrastructure.”
– Sander Hees, Community Facilitator for IATI Secretariat
IATI Connect Milestones
IATI launches IATI Connect. IATI’s Discuss platform is archived as a read-only website and around 250 members are migrated to the new platform.
IATI invests in the development of the Open Social Real-time Collaboration extension to increase member collaboration.
IATI invests in the development of crossposting between groups on Open Social.
The community expands from its initial 250 accounts to almost 750 users, growing by 300% in just 6 months of launching.
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