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Shared Value Initiative

Shared Value Initiative connects business, social sector in pursuit of shared value strategies

Emerging non-profit creates global community with Drupal Commons

The Shared Value Initiative strives to demonstrate to leading companies how to create new business value by addressing social problems that intersect with their business. The Initiative sought to build a community that would connect leading companies, civil society, and government organizations to accelerate knowledge sharing and facilitate ongoing conversations about the power and impact of shared value strategies.

The Problem

“We wanted to build a global platform that would serve as the foremost forum for people to discuss and contribute to developing shared value strategy, where people can connect with each other,” said Michelle Morgan-Nelsen, communications manager at Shared Value Initiative. Founded in 2012 by the nonprofit consulting firm FSG and a global network of funders, the Shared Value Initiative didn’t have a website when it approached the digital agency Genuine Interactive.

“The first goal was really to build some awareness around the Initiative; the second goal was to be able to show there was momentum behind it. Novartis, Nestlé, and Verizon are big companies that are following this, and once we demonstrate some momentum, the Shared Value Initiative will be on its way,” said Jonathan Restaino, strategist and account director at Genuine Interactive.

The team at the Shared Value Initiative knew that for many online communities, the sign-up process can be cumbersome, and that commenting within communities can feel like an abrupt departure from where the content was posted. The Initiative and Genuine Interactive wanted a site where comments seamlessly blended with the content, where users could sign up and contribute without ever feeling like they had left the discussion.

How they did it

Genuine Interactive knew from the start that Drupal Commons was the perfect out-of-the-box solution for building the community fast. “We knew from experience that Drupal Commons makes it really easy to create a community. The ease of use makes it much more engaging for users because they can read content, sign up right away, and comment,” said Michael Miles, Genuine Interactive’s lead developer for the site. Ease of use was critical for the Initiative, which needed to launch with a visually appealing site that would immediately draw users into the conversation.

Drupal Commons integrates shared value content within its community by allowing users to comment on blog posts, articles, and other content as if they were on a social site, as opposed to the disjointed experience of many other digital communities. Users can also submit their own blogs, white papers, and other resources about shared value, which are searchable by resource type, industry, region, and social issue. Interest groups help members receive notifications about posts that are important to them, and Drupal Commons harnesses the power of social media by allowing members to link their community profiles with their Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts. Drupal’s responsive design ensures that members of Initiative’s global community can stay engaged from anywhere, on any device.

“It looks like a community and feels like a community because of the types of technology we have,” Restaino said. “You could go to any other website and see similar features, but you’re not given as many user features as a community member—the ability to upload resources and make comments.”

The results

Shortly after launch, the community was flooded with comments on best business practices, guides, tips, commentary on processes, and how people are rethinking capitalism by giving back. “Members are able to start and engage in discussions among one another. They can also upload outside information—it’s a more organic community because they’re readily able to share information with the community,” Morgan-Nelsen said.

“In two and a half months since our launch, we added more than 1,000 members to the Shared Value community. What’s more, usage statistics show we’re engaging community members. The average site visit time is more than five minutes,” Restaino said. “People are coming here, signing up, and participating because they want to learn more.”

It looks like a community and feels like a community because of the types of technology we have. You could go to any other website and see similar features, but you’re not given as many user features as a community member—the ability to upload resources and makes comments.
Jonathan Restaino
strategist and account director at Genuine Interactive

Company Information

Shared Value Initiative
Committed to driving implementation of share value strategies among leading companies, civil society, and government organizations
Nonprofit
Drupal user since 2013
Acquia client since 2013
The Numbers
  • Recruited more than 1,000 community members in first 10 weeks
  • ŽAverage site visit time more than five minutes