by Karl Quirino
MODELS OF TECH-SAVVY NONPROFITS USING SOCIAL MEDIA
If you lead a social service organisation that isn’t doing as well as others, have you ever wondered why people don’t readily pick your noprofit organisation as their preferred charity or cause to support?
Well, the plain truth is that people don’t decide who to give to on the basis of facts, ratios and donation buttons. They decide who to give to based on the causes they care about or the charity brands that they have heard of and trust.
If you think your nonprofit organisation deserves more public attention with an eye on acquiring some following, influence, social capital and reputation, then it’s time you started studying how others, who are ahead of you on the curve, are doing it right these days. Have a look at the websites of a few organisations whose links are listed below and get a feel of what social media is doing for them and what it can possibly do for you.
A UK-founded charity, OXFAM’s website is a good example of how a nonprofit organisation has planned well its foray into to thw world of Web 2.0. This site contains some very good examples of broad areas of social media that other nonprofit organisations will find useful adopting when considering their jump into Web 2.0 -– engage, communicate, resonate, participate and reaching out.
OLPC was founded by Nicholas Negroponte with a core of Media Lab veterans, but quickly expanded to include a wide range of exceptionally talented and dedicated people from academia, industry, the arts, business, and the open-source community. Each individual involved brings a unique skill set, and a deep personal passion, to the project. The link provided above opens to a page which encourages site visitors to participate in the project and get involved by displaying a number of options.
The Robin Hood Foundation, a charitable operation based in New York USA has 82% of its operating revenues come from private support and the rest from internal funding. It is one of those large nonprofit organisations that do not depend on any form of government financial support. Its website is extremely simple, uncluttered, straightforward and Web resource-efficient. It is a good model to emulate. The foundation has learned to employ just a few social media features on its homepage with maximum effect. They’ve chosen what works best for them.
Some charities look to bring tech to poverty-stricken children around the world. This one is special for many reasons. It’s a small school based in Kandahar, which teaches mostly female students tech and business skills so they can get jobs and improve their country. After clicking the link above, notice how AFSJ prominently displays a number of features such as their RSS feeds, news updates, comments by site visitors and supporters, their Facebook page and a host of other applications that help get them noticed in search engines.
A nonprofit who promotes family values and who operates out of Colorado Springs USA, FOTF relies even more on private support funding (91%) and internally generated funds (9%) to support its annual operations. Here’s another site on the Web devoted to social service which has its communications strategy spot on towards social media. It engages, communicates, resonates, participates and reaches out. Can you guess which social media features I’m talking about here that makes FOTF successful?
Like the Robin Hood Foundation, it’s no wonder that FOTH has been voted by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 200 Charity Organisations in the United States.
The world’s smartest nonprofit organisations are using social media and turning to the Web in an effort to increase awareness of their missions and to help connect with their constituencies. While these organisations are known for their nonprofit status and their fundraising campaigns, they demonstrate an acute awareness of the importance of Web 2.0 strategies in meeting their objectives.
They are highly engaged with their audiences in a variety of ways using Web 2.0 technologies. Social media is an important part of the marketing communications strategy of highly successful nonprofit organisations. They are beginning to outpace businesses and even academic institutions in their familiarity, use, and monitoring activities.
The five examples I have provided on this page are but a few of some of the top socially-oriented organisations who have discovered a new and exciting way to win the hearts (and maybe the dollars) of potential donors along with the support of their advocates, volunteers and friends.
Charities, schools and other nonprofit organisations operating in New Zealand shouldn’t be labeled as techno-peasants because they’re not. It’s just that we have this quirky laid-back attribute of waiting a year or so before catching up on what’s good with the rest of the world. Maybe it’s partly because of the fresh clean air we breathe, the lush greenery and the stunningly beautiful countryside we enjoy here. If it is, then maybe that’s the excuse we can use when being accused of being legends in our own minds.
RELATED LINKS USED IN THIS SERIES: