The Community Model for Membership & Subscription Businesses

Updated: Mar 23

Before delving into The Community Model for the membership and subscription landscape, we inevitably must define ‘communities’. That’s because the core of The Community Model is the idea of community itself!

What’s the Definition of ‘Communities’?

Dear Stan Garfield. We’re a fan of your definition!:

“Communities are groups of people who, for a specific subject, share a speciality, role, passion, interest, concern, or a set of problems.”

Stan Garfield has also listed 5 key purposes of communities:

  1. Sharing

  2. Innovating

  3. Reusing

  4. Collaborating

  5. Learning

Finally, Stan Garfield mentions common principles of communities, such as:

  • Comprising of people who choose to interact

  • Needing to be actively nurtured and sustained by their leaders

Why is The Community Model Relevant to Membership & Subscription?

For some membership and subscription businesses, community is an after effect. That is, it has the potential to form once there are enough members or subscribers.

Within the community, interaction and collaboration involves members or subscribers creating their own content, or engaging with others’ content.

If more members share more content, and continue to interact, the community itself benefits from ‘network effects’. Simply put, the perceived value of the community, from an inside and outside point of view, increases, as more seems to be happening!

In addition, Podia, a fellow online community platform, state that community-based membership relies on “the value proposition that the whole is stronger than the one”. They are certain that members will “pay more for a human touch in their experience”.

There’s a distinction between subscribing to a community, and being part of a community of fellow subscribers to a service. The Membership Guys touch upon the business of subscribing to a community, where forums, messaging, and groups can be monetised.

In future articles, we’ll explore the different strategies to turn a membership and subscription business into a community of people with sustained interest.

For now, we hope you’ve enjoyed our introduction to The Community Model!

If you are a community leader, or in the business of community, try a Ugenie hub, for free, for 45 days.


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