5. Community Wide Categories

Created by Will Rogers, Modified on Sun, 21 May 2023 at 04:07 PM by Emilie Macke

Introduction to Cause Machine Categories

You might call these tags... categories and tags are essentially the same thing in our environment. But Cause Machine categories are an extremely important and powerful tool for your community and the way you mobilize your audience. One key unique nature of Cause Machine categories is that you, the community leader, are going to create your category structure for which all things fall into within your community.  

Your categories are going to be used for all of the following:

  • Individuals create a personal profile
  • Organizations create an organization profile
  • Content is posted to your community (blog, article, video, audio, etc.)
  • Stories are posted in your community
  • Course are created
  • Groups are formed
  • Products are posted
  • Events are scheduled
  • Jobs are posted

So consider the power that these categories can enable for you as your build your tribe:

  • Members can be intentionally connected with other members with shared interests
  • Members can connect with organizations who offer services that meet their personal interests
  • Community digests are dispatched only notifying your community members of new resources specific to their personal interests 
  • Groups are sortable based on geography and personal interests
  • And so much more

Here are some example categories you might consider (try to have no more than 4 major categories):

  • Life Stages (ex: youth, young adult, early career, etc.)
  • Stages of Engagement (ex: 101-401)
  • Professional Field (ex: engineering, accounting, healthcare, etc.)
  • Professional Role (ex: C-Suite, Executive, Manager, etc.)
  • Associations (ex: AARP, AAA, etc.)
  • Social Issues of Interests (ex: orphan care, trafficking in persons, etc.)
  • Personal Interests
  • Hobbies (ex: wood working, sailing, hiking, etc.)
  • Geography (ex: states, cities, regions, countries, etc.)
  • Goals (personal goals in your community)
  • Milestones (key stages of success/merit)
  • Challenges (ex: lost, confused, not equipped, alone, etc.)
  • Core Needs (ex: training, connection, community, etc.)

Categories are your tool to make your growing community a small, connected community for people. These are the structures for you to intentionally refine and engage your audience with surgical precision.  

To get your brain moving in the right direction, here are a few category groupings we've seen in various communities: professional field, geography, hobbies, skills, goals, stage in a journey, or social interests. 

PRO TIP: Stop for a moment and ask yourself, "When people in our community meet each other, what questions do they ask to learn about the other person?"  You're looking for how people in your community identify themselves and how they build commonality with others.  


Step 1. Getting Started

To get started let's find the Finish Setup from the left navigation and click on "Community Wide Categories".  You can also find this in your left navigation under Settings and then look for the Categories tab.



Step 2. Category Management Page

Your category management page will be blank as you get started but this will fill up quickly.  Our recommendation is to start on a white board first to build your category structure before taking the deep dive into creating them in Cause Machine.  When you're ready click on the "Add Category" button near the top right.  

PRO TIP: If you know your categories and have built them in Excel, you can upload your Excel sheet of categories.  We've provided a sample layout and even a sample Excel file to format your data correctly to make this upload a success for you.  This is a great tool when you have 10 or more categories to load.



Step 3. Adding a Category

Adding a category is a simple process but you'll need to think through a few things as you go.  You start by giving your category a title.  This would be something like "Professional Fields" or "Graduation Year." Make your title something people in your community would understand. Give your category a description if possible... the more you can explain, the better your community member's experience will be and the fewer questions you'll have to answer later.  

Input Type - this field is asking if you want to allow community members to only select one of the category tags or if people could select more than one.

Standard vs. Geographic - these two options allow you to create tags that are fully custom tags or tags based around geographic areas.  Most category tags will be Standard tags.

Design - here you can upload a background photo for this category neighborhood.  We'll explore neighborhoods in another section of the Knowledge Base.  



Step 4. Setting Category Visibility

Each category has its own preference settings.  Here you can do the following:

  • Show category as public neighborhood - this turns on the neighborhood page (a collective system created page aggregating everything tagged by that category tag into a single location).   We recommend not turning this on until you have critical mass in each of your category areas - it might look lonely before then.
  • Include category in search filters - this allows you allow this category grouping to be a search tool for your community (or not).  We recommend making it a search category.  If you've built your categories well (groupings that people easily self-identify with) then they would appreciate having the ability to search things like content based on these category tags.
  • Include in user profile - turning this on allows for this category grouping you are created to be seen by your community member in their membership profile and to select the tags that apply best to them.  You can choose to not show this category.  This is most often turned off if a category group it primarily built for organizations and it doesn't make sense for individuals (ex: you have an organization tag asking for services they offer, that wouldn't be a tag you would ask people).  
  • Include in organization profile - this is the same as the preference above but applies in the opposite direction for organizations.  If you would like to have this tag as a community category but not to be selected by organizations as they create a profile then don't select this.  



Step 5. Save and Build Tags

Once you have set up your category area title then click the Save button to begin posting the specific tags within that grouping.  Below is an image from an existing community displaying their level 1 Category title (Healthcare Specialities) with a sub category (Allied Health) and then the specific tags (Athletic Trainer, Counseling, etc.).  Once created, you can do the following:

  • Dashboard - view a dashboard for each of your categories, sub-categories, and tags. These dashboards give you insights into that specific demographic of your community base.
  • Edit - the pencil always allows you to come back in and edit your category.
  • Delete - should you ever need to, you can delete categories.  Just note, this cannot be undone so make sure this is actually what you want to do.  This is also why it's so important to get this right at the beginning.
  • Admins - you can even set specific admins to oversee specific categories.  For example in the image below, there could be an admin for each of these areas.  If there is no admin for a category, sub-category, or tag area then the admin role rolls up to the community moderator.  
  • Settings - you can optionally change the settings for how community discussions are managed.
  • Re-Order - you can move categories around should your structure change.




PRO TIP: Start small with your category strategy but start!  It's good to launch with one or two large categories and perhaps 8-10 sub-category and/or tags when you launch your community. Identify the tags that are glaring obvious and then add more as needed or requested from your community.  

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