Advertising & Brand Continuity
All the websites do is advertise it if properly set up and linked together.
That advertising can indeed be very, very useful. Well-linked websites do just that—connect people to information. Say someone first heard about the organization through the podcast, Point of Inquiry. Then he might go to the POI website, pop over to the CFI site to learn more, maybe click around the CSICOP pages, then find out that there’s a CFI community locally. Presto, a new member/volunteer/activist. Having a more centralized area for information and discussion, with brand continuity, lets people more easily plug into the larger community, find out about affiliated organizations, and so on. In fact we hope to work on the CFI site soon, which would include more effectively integrating the forums as well as other improvements.
And actually, I suggested the expension of the community forums after meeting many community leaders at the conference two weeks ago. I thought, among other things, that it would be a good place for new members of a community to contribute ideas for speakers, events, meeting locations, etc. Rather than e-mailing the community coordinator, a discussion could be held among a group. Meanwhile, that member would see all the other fun things we’re talking about on the rest of the forums :) and maybe join in. Current forum members would also be able to see all the communities listed and perhaps find a local one. I’m hoping that as the communities grow, so will forum use, and as the forums grow, so will the communities. Yay!