Facebook has announced the next phase of its Community Accelerator Program, which is designed to help Facebook group admins, or organizations with a presence in Facebook groups, to develop their leadership skills, and make better use of Facebook's tools to maximize community impact.
The program offers funding and training to the selected participants, in order to provide guidance and means to expand their presence.
As explained by Facebook:
"Through the program, each community will receive up to $50k USD to help fund work that advances the community’s goals. A subset of communities will be eligible to receive part of $1 million USD in additional funding. During the eight-month program, participants will receive training, mentorship and funds to invest in an initiative that extends their community’s positive impact."
As you can see above, the program also gives participants access to the latest group features and tools, while Facebook also works with participants to better understand key areas of potential development.
Facebook first launched the program last year, as part of its broader focus on maximizing engagement within Facebook groups, and providing more support pathways for group admins. More than 1.8 billion people now engage within Facebook Groups every month, while around 400 million, according to Facebook, are part of what it calls "very meaningful" groups, or groups that become central to their interactive and support process.
Given this, Facebook wants to maximize that engagement, and help connect communities through its tools - and in order to do that, it needs to offer expanded support and education where it can.
Overall, Facebook is committing up to $7.5 million in funding as part of the 2021 Accelerator Scheme.
"Selected community leaders will spend five months learning from experts, coaches and a customized curriculum so they can organize and strengthen their community to work better together. Participants will then spend three months executing their initiatives. They will collaborate with advocates and leaders in the community space and work with the Facebook team to bring their ideas to life."
It's an interesting initiative from Facebook, which could have a range of community benefits. Group admins are often the unsung heroes, working behind the scenes to facilitate discussion, and it's good to see Facebook acknowledge that effort, and look to provide more pathways for support - and importantly, payment - as for many this can become a part, or even full-time job.
And with more people connecting online than ever before, as a result of the pandemic, that connection is even more important, while the skills learned through this program could then be transferred to new group admins and leaders, boosting that knowledge pool.
Definitely, this is a growth element, and if more group admins can start to improve their process, that will be broadly beneficial, both on Facebook and in the broader community.
The 2021 Community Accelerator Program is open to communities that have a presence in Facebook Groups with leaders who are 18 years of age or older and reside in the following countries: Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, United States, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco & India. Communities must have existed for over one year and must have a minimum size of 1,000 members
You can find more information, and apply, here. Applications will be open from May 4th - 31st.