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« WeAreMedia Module 4: Spreading Awareness and Social Media Buzz | Main | A Geek's Reflections on Personal Fundraising Via Blog, Twitter, and Facebook »

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Siobhan

What's interesting to me is the idea that foundations would be having parallel experiences with getting their toes wet, experimenting, retooling, rethinking and learning as np orgs. Perhaps since the philanthropic world is going through the same process it opens a door. If they can't quantify their ROI for a facebook page - maybe the grantmakers will take a risk and invest in our investigations and experiments too.

Bill Snyder

I think the last question is not only the most provocative, but it is also the cornerstone of whether or not a foundation should engage in social media. Some foundations work as strategic partners that pursue goals with the nonprofits the support. Others simply provide (often private) funds and prefer not to share the limelight.

I've never been an "every business/nonprofit/foundation/entity needs to use social media" type of person, though I'm often an social media proponent. And I suppose all foundations could benefit from Wikis as collaborative tools they share with the organizations the fund. As to the broader use of social media, I think it's all about how a foundation wants to directly engage the public. If they don't, it's probably not worth the resources. If they do, jump in.

Or more succinctly, your organizational strategy has to come before your communications and technology strategy. You may need to jump in before you find out the results, but first figure out why your jumping.

Beth Kanter

@bill
thanks for your thoughts here ..
the we are media project - the first strategic module is whether or not your nonprofit should embrace social media ..
http://www.wearemedia.org/Strategy+Track+Module+1

Do you still think that question is relevant or should everyone have permission to drink the KoolAid?

Bill Snyder

I think it's still a very relevant questions. Resources are always limited -- though in some case the limits may be very high. Why waste them if there's no pay off. Perhaps the better point though, is the question "Do we need social media" leads to the question "Why to we need social media?" So, even if the answer is yes, asking the question will lead strategic decision making.

That said, everyone can drink the KoolAid. You can use social media in ways that may neither hurt you or help you. If every foundation on the planet puts up a FB page, no harm done for any of them, but not all of them will reap benefits. The question is, is it worth the time they invest.

BethP

Thanks, Beth, for the insight and resources in this post, I know a lot of non-profit organizations for whom this will be a valulable introduction. At Firstgiving, we’ve seen some good successes from people raising money for all kinds of good causes using social media tools.

What is the potential for collaborative Web 2.0 use by philanthropy professionals and amateurs? These tools are so accessible; if used effectively the impact could be huge. In response to the questions re: communicating with the general public, we see great possibilities to connect donors, fundraisers, foundations and other NPOs to causes they care about.

If I could offer any advice to anybody pondering taking the plunge into social media, it would be to remember that the “social” part is at least as important as the “media” part. If you don’t have anything meaningful or interesting to say, it’s not going to matter which tools you use to say it.

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