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The American Diabetes Association community drives awareness - members are 5x more likely to take an advocacy action on behalf of the Association

Lithium Alumni (Retired) Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Lithium Alumni (Retired)

This is the American Diabetes Association's entry in the B2C Social Impact category of the Forrester Research Groundswell Awards 2012. Visit the Groundswell site for more info


The American Diabetes Association Drives Support and Knowledge Through Social Community


Every 17 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes, which kills more Americans each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. The Association advocates for the nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes by funding research, delivering services to communities, providing objective and credible information and giving voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. As the premier organization leading the fight to Stop Diabetes, the challenge is to balance supporting the growing patient community with raising awareness among the general public about the societal impact of diabetes. The Association utilized its new Lithium-powered community to harness the engagement amongst this wide population of impacted individuals, and community members are now 5 times more likely to take an advocacy action, whether it’s making an advocacy call or donation, or attending a fundraising event.



In 2011, the Association revamped its 10-year-old community to improve the member experience, deepen user engagement and attract new members. They leveraged the growing population of technology-savvy people who were looking to understand more about diabetes and opened up the community for these passionate advocates to share their knowledge and support with others. The Association needed to ensure that its community is recognized as the go-to destination for those trying to get more information for themselves, family and friends.  A community member commented, “So I luckily found the American Diabetes Association’s online community and began reading as much as I could...I was lucky to have caught it early and to have found the community at the right time. Reading others’ stories gave me the motivation and knowledge I needed to take control of my type 2 diabetes.”


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Business Impact

The new community is thriving with passionate members and serves as a critical destination for the Association to drive advocacy and awareness.  Not only are community members 5x more likely to advocate for the Association, it has also seen a significant increase in community traffic, returning visitors and new members. 

  • Increase member acquisition: 48% of community traffic arrives through organic search. This is an 8x SEO improvement.
  • Increase member contributions: Number of new topics posted per day has increased by 35%.
  • Increase engagement and return frequency: 1,733 visitors daily, compared to 955 with the old platform. 30% of users visit the community over 10 times.


The Association now offers a powerful platform for members to share their personal experiences and triumphs as they manage diabetes. In return, members are coming together to deliver a stronger message to the general public and increase awareness to Stop Diabetes.


“We have a completely revitalized community. What was once a community lacking in visual appeal and ease of use is now a vibrant online intersection for thousands of people with diabetes seeking support, advice and encouragement. We have reaffirmed our commitment to providing the diabetes community with a premier online forum that meets their wants and needs,” says Anna S. Baker, Manager, Communications and Social Media, American Diabetes Association.




Hear Anna give a quick tour of the community:


jack-denise-avatar.jpgDenise Jack is Lithium's Director of Customer Programs and is primarily responsible for showcasing Lithium customers’ success in social customer experience. She has more than 12 years of experience in customer marketing, technical sales and management consulting. Denise is a regular blogger for Lithium and in the Lithosphere you'll see her as DeniseJ. You can follow her on Twitter at @lithiumtech or @denisejack


About the Author
Denise Jack is Lithium's VP of Global Field Marketing. She has more than 14 years of experience in customer marketing, technical sales and management consulting. You can follow her on Twitter at @denisejack.