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Hi! I'm Simon, GroundSource's engagement advocate. This week, we're experimenting with GroundSourced – the sort of thing we encourage our partners to do with all of their news products. We want to make sure GroundSourced is a useful resource. Our metric for success has been how many engagement challenges we receive from our subscribers. Guess how many we've received in call outs like the ones that appeared in our most recent newsletter? Zero.

But maybe that's because we're getting ahead of ourselves. What if – like many of the communities we serve – the engagement community doesn't know what it's missing? The professionalization of engagement is a new thing. So, we'll try to adjust GroundSourced to fit this idea.

We're doing that today by tackling GroundSourced's engagement challenge in the open. Then we'll casually mention $650,000 we helped raise to subsidize your community engagement efforts. Or you can RSVP here to tune into our webinar on receiving financial support from the Community Engagement & Listening Fund. It's a 3 PM EST today.
The Problem:
How can we the increase response rates for GroundSourced?

What's our goal?
To serve as engagement problem-solvers for subscribers to GroundSourced.

What have we asked of our community?
To submit their  engagement challenges for us to solve.

What's our metric for success?
Response rates to GroundSourced call outs.

Are we succeeding? 
No. We have received zero responses over 21 days. 

The Resolution:
We have a classic email newsletter problem.

A lot of what GroundSourced is experiencing might have to do with the channel. Average email open rates are far lower than what GroundSource is used to with texting above 90 percent. And email click through rates – let alone response rates – are in the single digits. (Mailchimp has those statistics here.)

But those are trends we can buck against by testing the subject text, schedule, and format. So we're removing the "GroundSourced:" in some subject lines, sending emails Wednesday morning instead of afternoon, and trying content that  may help subscribers articulate their problems before sending them our way.

About that $650,000 to subsidize community engagement...

The Community Listening and Engagement Fund (CLEF) is designed to help newsrooms build community connections and deepen relationships by helping them generate capacity and muscle for listening and engagement.

The $650,000 fund was established with the support of The News Integrity Initiative, Democracy Fund, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help newsrooms to work with partners like GroundSource to identify their goals and engage their communities to meet them. 

Read more about that fund here. Or RSVP for the webinar about CLEF here.

Finally, some suggested reading

That's it for this week. GroundSourced is about helping you better connect with your community. Have questions you'd like us to answer? Links to stories or studies you're reading that we can pass on to our 1,500+ subscribers? Let me know with an email to
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