More than Groups and Chapters

One brand with many cultures, or one organization with many locations.

This month, we onboarded a new team member who is working on our new package offering.  We will share more about this soon, but for now, let’s stay in topic.

We had a passionate, but healthy conversation about the differences between groups, chapters, and a cloud community. We figured that if our team had questions, that you too would have the same or familiar questions too; and that is the reason for this blog.

So, let’s start by differentiating between us and our competitors.  

They think it’s about Accounts, Chapters, and Groups and an offering

Let’s skip Accounts.  Everyone knows what they are, and there is little difference in the way that they are used by similar solutions.  The real meat is the difference between how our competitors see Chapters and Groups.  At the root, a Chapter and Group are different organizational tools.  A chapter allows you to organize your audience into different geographical locations or territories, and a group allows you to organize resources, content and permissions into common interests, features, or functions.

MightyNetworks, GroupFire, and xxx allow its customers to organize its audience around an idea, a concept, topic of common interests, or to limit access to resources and information to a predefined group of people.  Organizations with multiple locations, upgrade to an account that has Chapters so that the account holder can organize its audience into different geographical locations or territories.

These levels of organization are under one brand. The brand has one account that can have many groups, with optional chapters or locations, and the ability to sell offering for money.

We think it’s about your brand, your culture, and your offerings

Let’s start with what a Cloud Community is, and what it does.  A cloud community is a service that connects people to public brands, cultures, and offerings.  It also provides tools that allow members to connect, and share with each other.

There are 3 types of cloud communities:

An Influencer Community

This is a community with one brand and one culture.  They operate in one geographical location and have a handful of offerings and a relatively small audience.  These are not for profits, entrepreneurs, micro-businesses, and boards – basically, any group of people that are connected to a person, brand, mission, or offering.  

We understand that “relatively”, and “small” are subjective terms.  To us, a small audience is between 1 and 5000 people that are on a mailing list, or an influencers social media following. 

An Influencer Community has one public brand and has options to have many Groups, a community website, and a member app that its members use to join groups, purchase offerings, and connect with each other.

An organizational Community

This is a community with one public brand and many cultures.  It operates in different geographical locations and each location has a slightly different culture or brand flavor.  These are your associations, growing businesses, franchises, alumni groups, or not for profits.

In a co-branded community, there is one public brand and many chapter brands.  There is one governance model, each geographical location has its own brand, and is self-managed. 

A Networked Community

This is a community of many public brands and cultures, over many geographical locations. Each cloud community is independent of the other, but all connected to one account and master brand.  Each cloud community is assigned a chapter key and can be accessed using a sub-domain ( or via its main domain (

Each Networked Community has a dedicated secure hosting environment, a custom member app, and each location has a community website, a customized login screen, and an optional custom mobile app.

The I get it moment!

After explaining this to my colleague, she said,

“Ahhh… I get it now.  So, one cloud community is equal to one account to our competitors.  So, to achieve a Business Community on a competing solution, a customer will have to create multiple accounts and will have to manage each account separately.  That can be a lot of time and money.”

I said, “ yeah…, you got it”.

What separates us from our competitors, is that we understand that an organization with Chapters is really an organization of many different cultures and brands.  A Cloud Community allows an organization to centralize governance and delegate management to the local chapters in a way that is not intrusive, nor does it impose additional controls over it.

So, a business Community gives the opportunity to create a network of Cloud Communities.  Each Cloud Community in the network represents either a unique brand or subculture within the organization.  The influencer or Organization can choose to centralize new member onboarding, create general membership requirements across chapters, or delegate those governance items to the local chapter. While giving each chapter the tools that it needs to manage members, engage members, and even charge their own membership fee that is different from that of the larger organization.

To learn more about how a community network can support your organization, contact us today. In the meantime, we provided the table below to give you a summary of a difference in an account, a chapter, a group, and how they compare to one cloud community.

Them and Us

  AccountGroups Chapters The Community Cloud
Has members Yes Yes Yes Yes
Has Documents May be* May be Maybe Yes
Has Groups Yes No Yes Yes
Has member Portal Yes No No Yes
Has a brand Yes No No Yes
Has a merchant account Yes   No Yes
Has roles & Permission Yes No No Yes

See each competitor*