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Social Networking for Social Change
According to TechCrunch, Change.org, a social networking site that links volunteers to causes and voters to politicians will launch a new white-label social network for non-profits. For the launch, they’ve already partnered with 50 non-profits, like Care2, Greenpeace, and Amnesty International
The question it raises for nonprofits is, join an existing network like Facebook or MySpace or build your own social network or combination? And maybe this should not be an either/or question, but most likely resources will dictate that.
Rolling your own social network wrapped with your organization's branding, data, and integrated into an organizational site will provide more control. According to an email from Ben Rattray, Change.Org founder, "This is not at all meant as a replacement for the profiles organizations have on MySpace and Facebook, which I think are great for reaching younger supporters. But these sites have two important limitations that give nonprofits reason to look for additional tools. First, neither site has all the custom features, branding, or data integration that many organizations want. Second, we're hearing from most organizations that despite the huge membership of MySpace and Facebook, only 5-15% of their current donors are on either site. So nonprofits that focus exclusively on these sites are failing to fully engage 85% of their existing donors – comprising the people most likely to give and raise additional money."
So, does it make sense to roll your own network to appeal to those 85% of existing donors who do not participate on social networking sites, but may be engaged with the organization through other channels like email, face-to-face, or web site forums? Do we know enough about the differences between users and non-users of social networking sites? Also, building your own social network and growing and supporting a community takes work and relationship building to be successful-- whether you to do it on Facebook or your own site. As FrogLoop blog concludes in its recent analysis of MySpace, "Social networking sites are essentially a microcosm of the internet, and hosting a profile on either is akin to managing a website. It still requires a lot of attention, staff time, management and promotion."
While larger nonprofits may have the capacity to sustain multiple profiles and community efforts on social networking sites, plus their own branded community, not all nonprofits do. One hopes that nonprofits deciding to roll their own social networks, aren't creating their own social silos and have gone into it with a solid strategy, clear objectives and measurable metrics, and can evaluate the ROI.
What do you think? How will your organization decide whether to roll their own social network and/or have a profile on a larger social networking site or just say no to social networks? Drop a comment or link back and I'll round it up for next week's summary.
More On Social Networking for Social Change
OneNorthWest recently hosted a seminar on social networking sites and environmental organizations. Jon Stahl has a live blog post of remarks by the speakers.
This is a must-read. The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication October issue is devoted to scholarly research on social networks. There are 18 articles. If you're short on time, read the abtracts and dive deeper into Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.
Social Change Websites is an excellent directory of the best nonprofit, grassroots, and advocacy campaign websites devoted to social change. You can sort by category and location and it campaign as a basic description. I'd love to see more detail, like an overview the strategies or how they measure success.
Marnie Webb (who appears to be blogging a bit more these days since she switched to a MAC) tagged an interesting article from the Wall Journal that asks "Is there a numerical cap on how many friends we can have?" The article refers to the Dunbar number - 150 - the ceiling on the number of personal contacts a human has the capacity to maintain. The article says that new research suggests that social networking sites will help humans surpass this limit. Last word from Prof. Dunbar: .."isn't sold on the idea that social networks make his number outdated. The research, he says, "made us realize people don't know what these
wretched things called relationships are -- and that helps explain why we're so bad at them."
Hitwise has published a study that shows visits to social networks overtaking visits to web-based email services in the UK for the first time. Is this wave of the future? Will email remain the killer app or go the way of the page view?
The Wild Apricot Blog has published a nice list of ten examples of how nonprofits can use Facebook. Be sure to check out Beginner's Guide to Facebook and How to promote your Cause on Facebook articles.
DevelopmentSeed blog posted back in October some screenshots of the Facebook application created to Help End Poverty as part of the UN Millennium Campaign outreach to Facebook community. Would love to read a summary of the campaign results and lessons learned. If you're curious about what other Facebook applications are being used by nonprofits, check out this top 12 list.
Perhaps you're wondering what type of skills you need on staff to implement a social networking and media strategy. You can learn a lot about that more through this informative interview by The Buzz Bin with Steve Bridger on the Buzz Director.
Tis the Season
These sites may not be of interest to participants of "Buy Nothing Day," on November 23, but what better way to feed your consumer urges and desire to good by shopping for charity! A new entry into the charity shopping category, is MAATIAM. Of course, another way to do this is to set up your own shop on cafepress. (Oh, I so want a NTEN baseball cap!) Or purchase gift items from a socially responsible retail store like Ten Thousand Islands that helps support local artisans and Fair Trade in developing countries.
Now that you've shopped for good, what about for yourself? Check out Steve Dembo's Geek Toys that'll give you Geekbumps which includes the Give One Get One XO Laptop Campaign (hurry offer ends on November 30th) and a Chumby (hmm .. Nancy White got herself an early holiday gift)
It's November, crunch time for nonprofit fundraisers looking to take advantage of the holiday giving. Don't have your strategy and plans in place yet??? No worries. This early holiday gift from the good folks
at Care2 and SeaChange Strategies, "A Procrastinator's Guide to Year-End Fundraising"
will give you a crash course on best practices for maximizing online giving. This beautifully designed and well written concise guide is a must-read.
Earlier this month, Convio alerted its nonprofit clients of an Online Security Issue as reported by the nonprofit tech blog (be sure to read through the comments), NTEN and TechSoup blog. leading to an impassioned request for best practices for minimizing damage when this security breaches occur on several listservs. Allan Benamer responded this week with some suggested guidelines for nonprofits to use for disclosure of security breaches
Check this out! The NOSI Choosing and Using Free and Open Source primer is on the ICT Hub Knowledgebase!
The AFP Nonprofit Technology blog points to a story by Jennifer Gilomen from BAVC about digital storytelling techniques and tools for nonprofits in the NPTimes. If you have a subscription to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, there is another related story called "Telling Moving Stories." You read an excerpt here.
Michael Hoffman from See3 points us to the 1 Second Film, a collaborative art project, micro video blogging example, and micro fundraising campaign.
Global Development Matters is a new site with lots of video, quizzes on global development and extensive q/a on a variety of global development project. Check out the introduction video for more.
Andy Carvin has a terrific interview with Marc Hawker and Jiva Parthipan about their experiences making a viral video for Amnesty International's anti-torture campaign about Guantanamo interrogation techniques.
Chris Brogan points to Show in a Box, a fully packaged WordPress blog with custom themes and other features built in to create an out of box video blog experience.
Ever wanted to incorporate a slide show in your drupal site?
Grassroots.Org has a general primer on Search Engine Optimization for Nonprofits, although some of the information in the linkbuilding section is circa 1999.
Jonathan Coleman's slide show, You Can't Raise $$$ if People Can't Find You on SEO fundraisers.
SMO stands for Social Media Optimization which is the process of making your site/blog more visible in social media searches and sites, more easily linked by other sites, and more frequently discussed online.
Micro Media: Strategy, Tools, and Techniques
A few months ago, Jeremiah Owyang coined a term "MicroMedia," which is the next evolution of micro blogging (think Twitter). Quick audio or video messages published to a trusted social community. May be created and consumed using mobile technology and distributed using other social media tools.
Here's a good list of micro-media tools, although they are labeled as mobile learning tools.
One of the hallmarks of micro blogging is that you had to write the essence of an idea in more than 140 characters or in the case of micro media capturing the video in less than minute or recording your report very concisely. Perhaps there is a lot to learn from headline writing skills.
Amy Sample Ward has an interesting take on adoption issues as related to micro-media tools.
While it is almost a year old, this slide show called 10 Ways to a Killer Blog by Robert and Maryam Scoble about how to blog well is an entertaining, quick and useful read.
Kabissa joins Aid for Africa for the third year running!
I don't speak or read Japanese. So, I have no idea why this page was tagged with NpTech. Do you?
The NpTech Tag started as an experimental community tagging project in 2005. A loosely coupled group of nonprofit techies and social change activists decided to use the tag "NpTech" to identify web resources that would create an ongoing stream of information to promote and educate those working in nonprofit technology. Many individuals tag hundreds of resources each week. Through TechSoup's Netsquared project, blogger Beth Kanter, was commissioned to write a weekly summary.
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