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Guidance for Online Community Engagement


CMF's online communities offer a combined online forum and email system, giving you maximum flexibility to collaborate and learn from your peers within the CMF network. 

Communicate via CMF's website 

All online communities can be accessed from the Online Communities page or through your profile by clicking "My Account" and then "Peer Groups." Click on an online community to view the current conversation. To join the discussion, click on the topic and add a comment and/or upload a resource. Any comments made through the online communities on CMF's website are emailed to subscribers. 

  • You can tag your colleagues in conversations using the “@” function followed by their name.
  • You can “like” a post.
  • You can choose to receive personal messages from other CMF members in your groups.

Communicate via email 

Each online community has an email address that members of the group can use to communicate. All emails are also saved online and can be easily searched as topics and comments within each community's page. 

To join a new online community, visit the Online Communities page. Click "Join" at the top of the online community's page. If a group is designated as a private group you may request to join the group, pending CMF staff approval.

Via email: 

Send a new email message to the email address listed below your online community's title. Each community has a unique email address (i.e. Type the topic in the subject line and fill the body of your email with any questions or comments you want to share with the group. 

Via the online forum: 

Visit your online community page and click "New Topic" at the top of the page. Add your topic and message. You may also upload documents. Click “Submit.” 

Via email: 

You may reply directly via email. Reply directly to the person who posed the question. (Do not use “Reply all.”) 

Via the online forum: 

Visit your online community page and click the topic you’d like to answer. Add your comment. Upload an attachment if necessary. You can also "like" a post and/or tag your colleagues in conversations using the “@” function followed by their name. Click “Submit.” 

Log into your online community and click your profile in the upper right corner, select the person icon, and choose preferences. Then select "Emails" to update your preferences on email notifications for mentions, new activity in a thread and select the frequency of summaries of activity in your online community. You may also want to review your notifications section to fine-tune your individual group notifications behavior, found in the Notifications>Categories section of your preferences.

If you want to change the notifications on a per-group basis, the fastest way to do this is to visit your group's online community page that displays all the conversation topics, then select the bell icon towards the top right of the discussions, and choose the appropriate notification level for that individual group.


Policies & Etiquette

  • Include a clear message in the subject line. 

  • List your name, position and organization at the bottom of each message you post/send. 

  • When you are replying to a question posed to the group, out of consideration for your peers, do not reply to the entire group unless the information will benefit everyone in the group. Instead, reply directly to the individual who posed the question. 

  • Be sure that all information you post is appropriate for group consumption. For example, do not send personal messages meant for one person. 

  • Messages are limited in size so consider using links instead of including file attachments. Stationary and backgrounds will also increase the size of your messages and are not recommended for email messages sent to the community. 

The following policies apply to discussions conducted online or via email: 

  • In alignment with our CMF values – Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Integrity, Engagement and Collaboration – please help to maintain the online communities as a respectful environment.  
  • Participation in CMF's online communities is limited to subscribers. Some online communities also require staff approval to join.
  • Information shared in the community should be considered confidential, unless otherwise stated. Do not forward any part of an online discussion to others without group approval. 
  • We encourage members to discuss collaborative opportunities but please do not use online communities to discuss specific nonprofit partners or the merits of grant-specific requests using this forum.
  • CMF members agree not to use their CMF membership to solicit donations or business from other members.

Opinions expressed on these communities are those of the writer, not the Council of Michigan Foundations. No material within the online community may be duplicated electronically or in print form, re-transmitted, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial ends. In consideration of their participation in this online community, any user who duplicates electronically or in printed form, re-transmits, redistributes or otherwise uses material on this listserv shall be solely responsible for any violations of copyright, proprietary or other personal right, including libel or slander, or any other personal injury. The user hereby agrees to indemnify and hold the Council of Michigan Foundations harmless from any loss or damage, including attorneys' fees, arising out of any claim or proceeding instituted on the grounds that any of the foregoing rights have been violated. 

The Council of Michigan Foundations cautions participants in the online communities that private foundations are prohibited by law from lobbying, promoting a specific candidate or ballot measure or engaging in commercial activities. The Council of Michigan Foundations shall not be responsible for any prohibited activity engaged in by participants of this listserv. The Council of Michigan Foundations reserves the right to terminate access to any user who does not abide by these guidelines.