Spark Conversation

For the most part, organizations have relied on the belief that dramatic call-to-action through donation and sponsorships is the most effective way to get support and followers. However, social media  for social change is not just about the next big venture or dollar amount, sometimes simply creating an idea or dialogue can mean just as much to a community in need as the community sponsorships.

And by community, I don’t just mean our neighbor next door, I mean our social networking community. Jamie Henn, communications director for the environmental activist group 350.org, in Oakland, Calif. says: “Social media provides a place where people can share the work they are doing in the real world and gain a sense of momentum and community by seeing similar stories from around the planet.”

Below I’ve summarized some useful ways The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported on how to spark conversation:

Don’t broadcast. Too many traditional organizations blast their message or demands for action rather than building conversations first

I mean, you wouldn’t go on a first date and demand information regarding income without first building a comfortable foundation on which to ask such questions.

Think visually. Most nonprofits still send out e-mail blasts or reports that are mostly text, says Mr. Henn. “By using images and video, we have been able to convey stories with emotional impact in a very different way,” he says.

The stories that video & pictures can create, without saying anything, has long been known. Seeing is believing.

Be selective. Don’t bombard supporters with posts (once daily is probably sufficient, say experts). Get help providing content: from dialogue you create with followers

More importantly… stick to your demographic/audience. People are looking to you for a specific source of information on your charities topic, not which restaurant your eating at or you checked in for lunch!.

Measure everything, but have a goal from the start. Many nonprofit organizations need to get better at measuring effectiveness. Many charities have rushed into social media without having a strategy, but they need one, she says: “The weaknesses are at the beginning and the end.”

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