ninebranches is a project designed to help local Baha’i communities develop modern communications so that they can interact effectively and confidently with both Baha’is and the wider community. A good digital presence can accomplish many goals, but in the spirit of the 5 Year Plan, we want to help increase members of the wider community participating in our Core Activities. We specialize in combining high-quality websites, social media pages, and email systems with the strategic marketing knowledge to make Baha’is communities accessible and attractive.
On our site, you’ll find two main sections: Solutions and our Blog. Solutions are the services we offer to local Baha’i communities, while the Blog is constantly updated with ideas and best practices that can be used by anyone who has an interest in improving their community’s digital tools and strategy.
Despite having been a Baha’i for some time, during a recent move to Virginia I found it almost impossible to get in touch with the local Baha’i community. It struck me that if I couldn’t easily find the Baha’is, it was a pretty safe bet that those in the wider community who were potentially interested in the Faith would find it even more difficult to do so. So I began to think: What had other successful organizations done to solve this problem?
I grew up in an area where there are quite a number of booming Christian churches, so I began to look for patterns in their success. One of the most important parts of their story was that most churches had utilized robust web presences to be more relevant to their communities. Given that more than 80% of people visiting a church for the first time looked at the the church’s website before going, I figured that an even higher percentage would want to visit a local Baha’i community’s website before attending Core Activities or a Fireside. After all, we are still pretty unfamiliar to people, all things considered.
In addition, one of the biggest problems most local Baha’i communities face is not necessarily a lack of trained human resources, but a lack of seekers coming to Core Activities. A digital presence, if properly done, goes a long way to engaging members of the wider community and making them feel more comfortable to get to know us and participate in our activities.
Caleb Gilleland, founder of ninebranches, is probably too competitive to be a good Baha’i—blame it on his Baptist upbringing. Ninebranches is an offering to the Baha’i community born out of a belief that many strategies successfully used in the marketplace and by successful religious groups could also be fruitfully applied to the marketing and communications efforts of local Baha’i communities in the US and beyond.
A soccer-aficionado who enjoys biking, kayaking, and social media, but doesn’t necessarily enjoy being an Atlanta sports fan (they always lose in the playoffs… in dramatic fashion), Caleb enjoys creating memes and writing blog posts for his other gig, small business marketing agency ATL Eurasia.
Caleb became a Baha’i in 2001 while he was in high school in the suburbs of Atlanta. He has served in various capacities in the Faith, and spent a year after college pioneering in beautiful Almaty, Kazakhstan. He is married and currently lives with his wife in Jersey City, New Jersey.
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