Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Social Media for Non-profits

Social Media is a new concept for a lot of people and I have been meaning to write a primer on Social Media for a long time but never got around to it. There was so much available on the internet about Social Media that it didn’t make sense for me to write another blog. But Social Media for non-profits is another thing. There is a large amount of information available, but most of it is fragmented, so I decided that writing about Social Media for non-profits would be a worthwhile effort.

So, what does Web 2.0 & Social Media mean?

"Web 2.0" refers to what is perceived as a second generation of web development and web design. It is characterized as facilitating communication, information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web. It has led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and web applications. Examples include social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups and folksonomies. [i]

"Social media" is using the Internet to instantly collaborate, share information, and have a conversation about ideas, causes, and organizations we care about powered by social media tools. [ii]

Social media is about reaching to a group of people with common ideas as opposed to the traditional media (television, newspapers) which was created to reach a large audience, for instance, a nation. It is important to understand that social media is powered by the internet is not controlled by any one individual or organization. And most importantly, all social media strategies are driven by the needs of your audience and not by the needs of your organization, so the most important social media strategy is to LISTEN to your audience!

So, the next question is: what are these “social media tools” mentioned in the definition?

Since there many social media tools out there, I will just focus on the ones which will be and have been useful for non-profits: [iii]

· Blogs: Blogger, TypePad, WordPress
· Micro-Blogs: Twitter
· Social Networking: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn
· Social Bookmarking: Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit
· Photo Sharing: Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket
· Audio/Video Sharing: YouTube

The next logical question is: what can these tools do for you?

These tools can be used for a variety of things, most important being:
· Marketing
· Brand Building
· Networking
· Fund Raising
· Driving traffic to your website
· Humanizing your communications
· Listen to what your target audience wants
· Recruiting

In my subsequent blogs, I’ll get more into implementation and will also post some non-profit social media success stories. And before I end this post, I want to leave you with some food for thought:

Should you really care?

· In 2007, total online giving in the US has reached over $10 billion – a 52% increase over 2006 [iv]
· 73% of active online users have read a blog. 57% have joined a social network. 55% have uploaded photos. 22% have uploaded videos. [v]
· In 2005, 8% of all adults online had a profile on social networking site, as of Jan 2009, the number is 35%. [vi]
· Barack Obama is on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace J. Check out his website for more:

[iv] Convio, The Wired Wealthy, March 2008

[v] Universal McCann Comparative Study on Social Media Trends, March 2008

[vi] , (statistics are for US, unless specified)

Anil is an Education Pioneers Fellow and interning @ Families In Schools (Summer 2009).

1 comment:

  1. It won’t be wrong to say that the IT sector has made the world stand up and take notice of the countries like India. India’s IT poweress is one reason why such massive deals like the Tata Chorus deal and the Hindalco Novelis deal could get shape and turn into India’s favor. Had it not been for the IT sector, there were chances that these multi million dollar deals would not have matured the way they have.