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Holly's Helpful Hints - How To Write A Helpful Tip

Every day the Blackbaud Community gets asked tons of questions and our community members give tons of answers in return. But for someone who is new to the community experience, sharing an answer - even when you know it - can be daunting. So this week's helpful hint is about how to put together a helpful response (or tip) in the community.

There are basically three steps to composing a helpful response. Let's break them down:

1. Be human.
I know this might sound ridiculous, but people trust people more than they trust robots. So when you decide to become active in the community (either asking or answering questions), I suggest you make sure you have a profile picture uploaded and a little bit of profile information in place. I mean, this blog series is called "Holly's Helpful Hints" rather than "Computron's Automated Tactics for Success" because it's important to keep the human experience in an online community. You can update your profile content and picture from your MyCommunity page.

2. Be concise.
I once worked with a CEO who told me, "Holly, you have three bullet points to convey your message and I'll probably only read the first two." That advice turned out to be some of the best advice she ever gave me because it turns out, people generally don't like to read. So when you are answering questions and sharing tips online, make sure that your response has enough detail to be helpful, but not so much detail that it becomes overwhelming. And, whenever possible, include pictures. Nothing breaks up a wall of text like some strategically placed screenshots or other relevant images. You can learn more about adding photos to your posts here.

3. Be linked.
I love seeing links in a response on the community. Links mean that we are broadening the knowledge of the site and that you are either helping other community members learn about or be reminded of other resources to help them succeed. If you cite a book, link to the author (or the book). If you cite a blog, link to the post. If you cite another part of the community, link to that other part of the community. Links can often help provide the details that you may not have wanted to provide in the body of your response (see tip 2). You can learn more about adding URLs to posts here.

I hope this helps you share even more amazing answers and tips in the Blackbaud Community. As always, if you have additional questions or have ideas for future helpful hints, share them in the comments section below.

And, just for fun this week, the first person who can tell me what sitcom my Computron reference came from will win a fabulous community prize!
Posted by Holly Herbert on Mar 23, 2017 9:00 AM America/New_York

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