How a United Nations initiative solved their biggest community challenge

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) united global experts to solve the world’s hardest problems by organizing their members into professional networks using the Mobilize membership community platform.
United Nations

In 2012, the United Nations launched a global initiative to gather the smartest thinkers across academia, science, and the private sector. Named the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the coalition was formed to tackle some of the world’s hardest problems such as poverty, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

To accomplish this, the group would need to recruit, onboard, and organize professionals at the top of their fields. The outcomes from SDSN would have enormous implications – not just for the United Nations – but for society at large, creating solutions that influence millions of people with lasting global impact.

Success of the initiative was reliant on its ability to execute and bring together members in a way that was easy to understand, fast to adopt, and simple to scale.

The problem: Communication slow-down and confusion as as the community grew

As it launched, members were delighted to join. But, SDSN was at a disadvantage as the group ballooned in size. As headcount grew, so did the scaling challenges of running the program of 2,000+ members. What began as email groups became a frantic switchboard to connect members with other members and keep everyone focused.

The scaling challenges quickly became untenable. Collaboration was bottlenecked. Email chains became overwhelming and chaotic, leaving members confused and frustrated. As individuals joined and left, so did much of their contributions from the community.

So began SDSN’s search for an online community platform that could solve their challenges. The initiative wanted a way to organize its members into 37 smaller networks – each centered around a different focus.

The Solution: A Professional Growth Network with Shared Purpose

Working with Mobilize, SDSN launched its very own professional growth network.

Members were onboarded quickly and connected to small groups and individuals based on expertise, goals and interest. This allowed individuals to immediately collaborate with the best people in their fields and fostered an immediate sense of belonging. Leaders were given more autonomy and ownership over projects, creating a positive ripple effect throughout the organization.

As communication flowed through their newly launched growth network, participation skyrocketed and the community began functioning as a focused whole in line with SDSN’s original vision: a network with unified purpose and distributed leadership.

The Outcomes: Engagement More than 4X Industry Average

After implementing Mobilize, 80% of SDSN members were engaged—reading and interacting with critical content to drive these world changing initiatives forward. That’s 4 TIMES higher than the industry average. Their professional growth network is now the #1 reason their members sign up to join this UN initiative, and demand to join has grown steadily. Watch the video to learn more.

The United Nations SDSN is a great example of the difference between a professional growth network and existing solutions such as LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, or community software. Professional growth networks go beyond conversations, likes, and shares. They’re purpose-built to connect professionals around a shared purpose, with astounding results.

About Mobilize

Mobilize is the first and only software to help organizations and corporations create their own Professional Growth Network. Mobilize got its start helping front-running political campaigns successfully bring people together around shared purpose. Today, the software at Mobilize helps leading corporations, associations and non-profits increase revenue and affinity, cut costs, and decrease risk by powering their own professional growth networks.


Work with experts who build successful communities

Mobilize is made up of community experts who have launched communities for the likes of the National Restaurant Association, United Nations’ SDSN, Dermalogica, and more. We work with you to align your business goals with a tailored community strategy to ensure its success.

Whether you’re just getting started or are looking to improve outcomes with your existing community — we have strategies and industry-tailored programs to help you get things done. Schedule a demo for a personalized walk-through of our technology and learn about our expert-led strategy services.