What’s the group facilitation role all about?

Group facilitation: Get involved and join your group's facilitation team


If you’re currently an online group facilitator you’ll know that it can take a bit of time and effort to get started, but once your group is up and running it can be helpful, rewarding, and even fun! It doesn’t have to be a job you do on your own either, you can work together with colleagues from your own team, organisation or others within the same role across the sector.


“Sharing what we are doing has improved and increased our knowledge base, providing us with a way to tap into knowledge and access relevant documents as soon as they become available.” – Rob Nowak,  West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue ServiceWhy is the facilitation role important?
Facilitators play a key role in making things happen in online groups, and without them a group is likely to lose its momentum very quickly. Having said that, the day-to-day role varies and will be directed by the purpose of the group and its members’ needs. It usually involves taking charge of getting the group up and running, inviting people to join, populating it with thought-provoking content and generally looking after members.

We recommend having at least 3 facilitators on board but as with most things, the more the merrier! This helps when it comes to welcoming new members, responding to members’ posts and questions, and generating new content because you can take it in turns and bounce ideas off each other.

What does an online group facilitator do?
Make time to discuss the role of facilitators for your group. You may agree to have the same responsibilities but in some cases, it might be more helpful to take on different tasks. Some may have a more active role than others and no matter what works best for your group, make sure you have all agreed who will do what and when.
“It’s improved our communications 100% and improved our relationship with our community.” – Melissa Whittle, GeoPlace
Typical responsibilities may include:

  • Accepting and declining membership requests
  • Sharing new content in the group
  • Answering members’ questions or encouraging other members to respond
  • Highlighting new content and activity
  • Promoting the group to grow membership
  • Monitoring group activity

Becoming a group facilitator is a great way to grow your network. What most facilitators find is that the group also helps them to progress their own work priorities in an efficient manner by using the group to draw upon members’ knowledge to get quick responses and gain an overview of what works well and what’s not working so well.

It’s not that scary, honest!
“The group regularly helps a lot of us to learn new ways of working.” – Barrie Minney, Brighton and Hove City CouncilWhile it may seem like a huge task, facilitating a group doesn’t have to be. We have a tried and tested method to help you get started and if you’re thinking that you still haven’t got the time but would like to take on the role, we have a simple guide on how you can manage your group on just 10 minutes a day or 30 minutes a day.

Of course, if you have a bit more time there is a lot more you can do to get involved and you can look at our full guidance on facilitating and managing an online group. You’ll find tips and techniques to engage with members, encourage members to share their knowledge, promote what’s going on in your group, and more.

Most facilitators take on the facilitation role voluntarily and tend to be the people who first discover the need for the group. If you’re currently an active member in your group and enjoy connecting with members, knowing who’s who in your profession, and participating in your group’s activities, why not give it a go and get in touch with your group’s facilitators about joining the facilitation team?

Don’t forget as KHub group facilitators you can join the Online Facilitators Community which has over 1,400 facilitators who are always willing to help and share their facilitation experiences.

 

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