How does beabee help you build a community

Community journalism is one way for local media to reinvent itself or rather start again from scratch. This means putting the community at the heart of how journalism is produced and funded. It’s a chance for small, independent public interest media to develop sustainable business models and be relevant for and trusted by the communities they serve. For us, the model rests on three pillars:

  • Community Engagement

  • Income from memberships

  • Long-term deep relationship building


Community Engagement

Community journalism starts with listening. Engaging people is not an additional but a core task. We therefore need different channels and ways that allow us to listen to our communities and actively involve them, through collaborative investigations, keeping a channel open to contribute ideas or other editorial activities that we use to bring people together. Think, for example, of a jointly curated exhibition or an open editorial conference.

How does beabee help?

beabee is developing an engagement toolkit for this purpose. Our first central tool to address this need is the ‘Call-out’. You can set up short queries, surveys or a voting in beabee and also process the answers directly inside the system. These can be included privately in a closed member area or publicly, embedded on your own website or in the newsletter. Results flow directly into the beabee dashboard and the community database (if consent is given). This makes editorial departments independent of tools such as Google Forms.

Getting income from memberships

beabee recommends newsrooms to diversify their business models with multiple sources of revenue. However, we first and foremost support membership as the core revenue source. Community members pay a voluntary contribution to support the newsroom’s work.

How does beabee help?

With beabee, small newsrooms can integrate their membership payment system directly into their website. Under their own URL and brand.
The Membership Builder in the beabee software simplifies payment for both sides: community members can set up a direct debit for their payments and edit their data at any time in their own member area. Community organisers can see how much individual community members or the community as a whole contribute. Everything automatically feeds into a central database. A manual administration of spreadsheets is no longer necessary.

Long-term relationship building

With a membership-based business model, there is a strong focus on building deep and long-term relationships with members. Which is different from doing single participation projects or crowdfunding campaigns.
It’s about building relationships with the people in your own community over a long period of time and getting to know them better and better. It doesn’t matter whether there are 50 or 5000.
It’s about learning, for example, who could contribute to an investigation with their expertise, who should receive an extra thank you gift at the end of the year for their high engagement, who likes to volunteer at local events, or which inactive members read the newsletter regularly and could be asked to start paying a small contribution. All activities build on each other.
The business model and participation model are directly interlinked in community media. Journalists take on jobs as community organisers.

How does beabee help?

beabee is not an engagement tool for individual projects, but rather focuses on providing the system for those who want to link their business and participation model. Therefore, everything that happens in terms of payments and participation comes together in a central community database that the newsroom team builds up over time.
In this ‘Community Relationship Management System’, the newsroom’s journalists and community organisers get a comprehensive insight into who their members are and can activate them based on their behavior and their preferences – currently by sending emails to individual segments of the community. And what’s important to us: Members always have full transparency about the data they share with the newsrooms.

This is how beabee works right now, but there is more planned and we work hand in hand with the newsrooms using beabee to give them the tools they need. To learn what’s next or see a full demo you can book an appointment with us.

To dive into more details about the beabee features take a look at our feature guide.

And if you are a developer you might also want to check out our github repository.