It’s indeed paradoxical: we know that to achieve anything, a community behind your cause is a critical success factor. Yet, building it as a mean is (almost) always deemed to fail.
I think it might be useful to re-frame the issue of community building as being both a mean and an end, though this requires flexibility in whatever cause you might have had in the first place (for which you initially thought of building a community to thrust it).
By building a community as an end around a powerful cause, you might find the support you need to pursue that cause.
Stated otherwise, I’d encourage you to put the cause as the source for the community, and not its consequence, therefore building support for when you want to pursue your cause. Gathering a great community to socialize about your cause or project might get the support you personally need when facing difficulty in delivering on your cause. Be it encouragements or help, it’s still useful to feel you’re not alone on the road. People love to talk about great causes, and contributing ideas; they act less often toward that. So, leverage this natural tendency of we humans for that (and don’t get rebuffed by different opinions than your own – seek opportunities in divergences).
Building a community is no replacement for your own hard work – you can’t outsource your work to a community – but it might be a support for you doing the work. Incidentally, by showing off and walking the talk, you might get unexpected help in the end (and the more you’re loosing grip on your initial idea and let it be influenced and co-created by others, the more concrete help you might get).
- DOESN’T WORK: Community –> Work on cause
- WORKS: Cause –> Build community –> Support for the cause –> (Possible) help in building the cause further
So, seek to build a community around your cause for the sole purpose of getting warm support (if nothing else). And, who knows, you might get more help later but only if you don’t seek it.