Last week we invited people to help us crowd source a Hollywood Ending for the WeAreMedia Wiki. We've spent the last 18 months focused on how social media can support communications and fundraising strategies and now it is time to turn attention to program delivery and other issues.
We wanted to get into the weeds and asked for thoughts and examples of nonprofits using social media for program delivery in these areas:
- Volunteer or board recruitment strategy
- Ooutreach or educational program delivery
- Crowdsourcing ideas for program development
- Professional development
- Integrated in other areas
And you responded with your thoughts! But I wondered, is there a larger frame?
David La Piana released a report last week on the "Next Nonprofit" Blog taking a look at how five key trends are helping shape a new social sector. The trends are:
• Demographic Shifts Redefine Participation
• Technological Advances Abound
• Networks Enable Work to Be Organized in New Ways
• Interest in Civic Engagement and Volunteerism Is Rising
• Sector Boundaries Are
This exploration of the five key trends yielded important learnings: While each dynamic has profound implications for how nonprofits will do business in the future, it is their interplay that will transform the sector.
The Chronicle has a summary of the report here.
The insight that resonated most was a paragraph in the summary about the importance of rapid experimentation and learning is to the future of nonprofits. I just have to quote it:
For the nonprofit sector to survive and thrive, everyone — nonprofits, funders and capacity builders
alike — must become futurists. This does not mean predicting the future (an impossible task if ever there was one) but instead means being attuned to rapid and continual shifts in the environment; continually evaluating and interpreting how organizations can best adapt; and experimenting with new responses and approaches. Being a futurist requires both individual and institutional curiosity, and a willingness to take risks. No one of us can afford to rest on our laurels, assuming that the old ways of doing business will continue to serve us in this dramatically new and ever-changing environment. Nor can we rely on external experts, scholars or think tanks to map the road ahead for us — it is our responsibility to envision and shape the future for ourselves, our organizations and our society.
The section about technology and social media describes a few key projects and trends. Technology, which is a significant driver of change, also affords powerful tools for collective thinking and
action to position the sector to be proactive — not reactive — regarding the trends outlined in the report. What I found most thought provoking were the questions we should ask about technology in charting the future.
One, in particular, very relevant to question we're asking right now as part of the WeAreMedia project:
• What if the sector employed social media tools to engage both professionals and volunteers in designing new approaches to service or program delivery?
Have some thoughts? Add them to the WeAreMedia wiki here.