Posts tagged social media

Web 2.0 and Nonprofits

 

Jeff Brooks, creative director at Merkle, wrote in his Donor Power Blog recently about the “conversation” aspect of Web 2.0 as it relates to the world of nonprofits. He explained:

“It’s only a matter of time before nonprofits start getting the same treatment of being rated, commented on, and critiqued in public by donors…If you’re ready for this, it’ll be good. If not, ouch.”

Being relatively new to the concept of Web 2.0, I’m receptive to any good advice on how to realize the potential of the ever-evolving Internet in public relations and fundraising. At first, I was fairly reluctant to get into the world of blogging and social media. To be perfectly honest, I tend to be somewhat trend-averse when it comes to technology – I’m probably the only person left on the planet without an iPod. I shocked the AT&T salesman when I explained that I find texting less convenient than a real-time phone call. I own stationary – and I use it.

Needless to say, a year ago when my mother inquired as to what this “blogging” thing was and if I was doing it, I laughed. But, here I am. Why? Because despite my initial reluctance, I can no longer ignore the immense potential of online social media any more than I can pretend it’s a fleeting trend. If I can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

That said, back to Web 2.0 and nonprofits. Brooks is spot on in his observation about the inevitable conversation between donors and their recipients. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of nonprofits, especially the smaller ones, suffer from lack of technical expertise, time, money, staff, or some combination of all of the above. In my personal experience, groups that I have worked with are often short-staffed, thinly-stretched, and struggling just to make ends meet and accomplish the mission. But this shouldn’t be an excuse to resist new technology. I would argue that making an effort to join the online conversation and interact on a more personal level with donors would benefit nonprofits and multiply their efforts many times over. Donors care about where their money goes; some also want a say (or the perception of say) about where their contribution goes. By engaging with donors, listening to their desires, and responding to their concerns, nonprofits can reap the rewards of Web 2.0. And for free! A fabulous opportunity for nonprofits, regardless of size, locale, budget, or net-saaviness. Hell, if I can do it, anyone can.  

Side note: I was happy to see that Amor Ministries, which organizes mission trips in Mexico to build homes for Mexican families, keeps up a blog on their website. The blog is written by organization founder Scott Congdon. This year marks my 8th annual trip to Mexico with Amor, so I’m happy to see this great nonprofit engaging in online social media.

“The Conversation” image courtesy of www.moma.org

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