📻 — Ultimate List of (Free) Community Building Workflows, Frameworks, and Methodologies

This is your Community, Daily.

Reading Time: ~ 6 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

Before we jump in deep on this megalist of community workflows and models, I wanted to get in a few quick-links for folks to check out:

  1. 🤓 — A quick look back at the last 10 months of building this project.

  2. 📽 — Short video in your workplace? Voodle.

  3. ⚒️ — The future of apprenticeship is all about ass-kicking.

  4. 👩🏻‍🏫 — Your education companion? Echo.

  5. 💰 — Big ups to Career Karma — Great founders, no doubt. A reminder of the power of community and multi-player mode.

  6. 🎧 — AirPod Max™️! OMG. The copy is mind-blowingly good.

🛑 — If 10 yenizens comment / reply on AirPod Max… I’ll get them. If not, thank you for saving me money!

Keep sending us those amazing community tools!! You all are the best.

To infinity & community,

— john

Sadly, this list isn’t nearly as comprehensive as I’d like it to be, but, we’ll continue to do our best to keep our growing list of community tools, workflows, and frameworks as updated as possible!

💸 — I’ve intentionally kept this list to only free resources but there is a growing list of paid resources which we’ll share on an upcoming issue… make sure to subscribe!

Thanks again for every single person that has contributed! It means a great deal that we continue to pursue our mission of democratizing community building and enabling more folks to do what we do!

The Community Operating System:

I’m putting together my ultimate community building workflow and the first two chapters are modeled and done focusing on “starting with why” and rituals / behaviors. I’m also sharing the development of this workflow publicly as we build our yeniverse.

I really appreciate the folks who have given me feedback so far!

The Community Playbook for Founders

Although a relatively-new resource, Flybridge Capital is one of the venture firms that is actively and specifically looking to invest in the future of community.

They’ve been inspired by an experienced bunch: Zach Sims and Alyssa Vigil of CodecademyCarolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan of ChiefMac Reddin and Jacob Peters of Commsor, and Grace FranciscoMeghan GillEliot Horowitz, and Dev Ittycheria of MongoDB as well as direct contributions via Jono BaconBailey Richardson, and Cassie Mayes of Atlassian.

Here are the (summary) goods and key takeaways:

Make sure to get a copy of it yourself.

The Community Canvas

The Community Canvas is a long-standing resource that has helped countless folks visually construct their new community. It was a joint venture between Fabian PfortmüllerNico Luchsinger, and Sascha Mombartz.

There are three, free .pdfs that you can download and use:

  1. Summary — The Canvas and its 3 sections (7 pages).

  2. Guidebook — The 17 themes covered in detail (61 pages).

  3. Minimum Viable Community — 9 question template (GDocs here too)

This is especially useful for folks who like to visualize the entire process or elements as they work together.

Community Launch Framework

Noele Flowers shared her expertise with us with an amazing step-by-step process with too many good points to mention and beautiful slides to boot:

So, why don’t you check that out here and then get a copy of the framework while you’re at it. This might be one of the better “starting points” for those that are first trying to figure out what all this might look like, as a process.

Creating Community around Mission or Brand

Danielle Maveal took some time to also share a few of her tips on building a community around your mission or brand. She has some specific tips that are non-obvious, even suggesting that folks not build a community.

She’s not wrong.

CMX: Community Strategy Canvas, The Space Model, Engagement Cycle, and 7 P’s

CMX was founded by David Spinks (acquired by Bevy) and is a well-known community business that’s in the business of… well, community. They’ve got a ton of resources for the new and experienced professional, including this downloadable template to get you started.

If that’s not enough, learn more about how they think through the community engagement cycle or even the “7 P’s of Community“:

  1. Purpose: Clearly define your goal.

  2. People: Choose the right members and leaders.

  3. Place: Gather in a compelling space.

  4. Participation: Take your members on a journey.

  5. Policy: Enforce a clear set of rules.

  6. Promotion: Start small then scale.

  7. Performance: Measure everything.

Finally, they’ve been fortunate to curate the wisdom of people like Carrie Melissa JonesEvan Hamilton, and Erica McGillivray who originally helped build The Space Model:

They have years of industry experience and have really helped shape the landscape that we all appreciate today. Many thanks!

Community Commitment Curve or “Onion”

Keen.io developed this Community Commitment Curve (or “Onion”) a while back and it’s useful as you think about “moving” your participants and members into “deeper” levels of engagement.

The Orbit Model

The Orbit Model is a framework for building “high gravity” communities — groups that are exceptionally-good at attracting and retaining members built-upon 4 core principles:

  • Love is a member’s level of engagement and activity in the community.

  • Reach is a measure of a community member’s sphere of influence.

  • Gravity is the attractive force of a community that acts to retain existing members and attract new ones.

  • Orbit levels are a practical tool for member segmentation and used to design different programs for each level of the community.

Patrick Woods and Josh Dzielak appear to be building something pretty cool so I’d keep track of their project as well.

Community Through Content and Newsletters

There are few people better to teach us how to build a thriving, million-dollar revenue-generating email newsletters than Steph Smith. Less of a framework and more of an actual workflow of how she builds not just a newsletter but a community and then business!

Step-by-step. 👌🏻

Community Readiness Canvas via Crowded

The fine folks at Crowded have created a simple but impactful .pdf that can help you figure out if you’re ready to take this crazy trip down community building way. Read more of their thoughts here.

Slack Community Foundations

Jacob Peters is a super-fan of Slack and presents one of the better how-to guides on how to setup a brand new “Slack for Community” — I learned more than a few things!

Grateful to Tom Osman and the Makerpad squad for hosting these!

Community Based Marketing by Guild

The folks over @ Guild have provided not just a model to visualize how you want to encounter and engage new members but also helps establish a broader understanding of B2B marketing and how it intersects with community. I particularly like Ashley Friedlein and Michelle Goodall establish their definitions:

The Trust Triangle via HBR

Empowering leadership is the focus of this framework as it starts to build trust that can eventually enable even greater productivity and collaboration.

You won’t find anything fundamentally ground-breaking with this HBR post but it’s an opportunity to think holistically about how you build your community (and teams). H/T to Anne Morriss and Frances Frei.

Online Community Planning via Structure3c

Bill Johnston of Structure3c has built not just a planning doc but a his vision for a better, community-driven future:

Feel free to grab them while they’re hot!

The Care of Souls Framework

What I love about this is that it’s distinctly focused on the individual and deeply understanding their needs, hopes, desires, and the “jobs” that they perform in the context of community.


There’s a companion piece called “How We Gather” that is also useful — here’s their target audience with this download:

  • Those leading the organizations mentioned in this report and others like them

  • Those interested in supporting such organizations and their growth

  • Those interested in America’s changing religious landscape

If that sounds like you, then, dive in!


This is a personal project that has helped a lot of people:

In late 2018, Richard D. Bartlett published a proposal to start a “microsolidarity” group — a small mutual aid community for people to do a kind of personal development, in good company, for social benefit.

Richard is clearly smarter than me and I need to read his material more.

Building Community Among Citizens

Peter Block presents us with a video series on building community:

The rest of the videos can be found here.

The Community of Inquiry

This is an older model but useful and is specifically designed for education-centric communities who intend on collaboratively engaging in purposeful discourse and reflection.

The Community of Inquiry theoretical framework represents a process of creating a deep and meaningful (collaborative-constructivist) learning experience through the development of three interdependent elements – social, cognitive and teaching presence.

via COI

Download the larger version here.

The Community Engagement Framework

The Community Roundtable’s take on how to build quality engagement into four major categories:

  1. Validate Out Loud

  2. Share Out loud

  3. Ask & Answer Out Loud

  4. Explore Out Loud

The picture (above) is literally the framework.

FeverBee Community Lifecycle

You can download a copy of this graphic here which can give you a sense of what it might take to reach certain cycles in the growth of an online community. Thanks to FeverBee and Richard Millington.

🛑 — Are we missing any?! We know this isn’t a comprehensive list! So, please make sure to stop by and submit a tool (or two)!

Thank you!