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Catherine Carey

Web 2.0 (and Web 1.0) questions I ask every day:

Is it practical for this nonprofit? Is it practical for this group of staff?

Can I explain this *cool new thing* using examples that make sense?

Can the nonprofit do more with less – money or effort?

How long will it take to learn? Is that time frame for tech savvy people?

Usually the answers are no.

I'd appreciate more help, like Beth gives, to enable me to show the value of web-based tools to my small and very small nonprofit clients. Thanks Beth.

Here's how I explain RSS. “It's like you're making your own newspaper.”

If I get some interest we continue with:

(We're looking at the persons web-email site.) “Click here. That's how you get to the RSS feed add page. Here's where you type in what you want to know. What do you want to know? (We type something.) All this stuff comes up. See this part here - it says who's publishing the information. Do you trust them? Click the add (or similar button.) Let's look at it. So now you have your own newspaper of stuff from the news, websites and blogs.”

The we laugh about having time to read it!

Cat Laine

At AIDG, we use the web 2.0 stuff for marketing, networking and spreading the word about our work. We're on MySpace, Facebook, Technorati, Flickr, MyBloglog, and We're hitting youtube/revver next year when we go through all our video footage and make decent clips. Digg features mostly tech stories, so we've ignored it until now though that might change in the near future as it wouldn't hurt to add a digg this/reddit/etc. link to our blog.

These tools have been an incredible assets for us. Facebook has been great for allowing us to keep up with past interns, contacts at universities, and other supporters. We're using our blog and to help establish ourselves as experts in the field, share as much of our amassed knowledge as we can as well as interact with like-minded people. It's allowing us to build relationships with people that we otherwise wouldn't be able to meet. The blog has also been a wonderful learning tool for us as its provided a way to keep up to date on developments in our sector. I've found that the more I'm writing, the more I'm picking up relevant/useful information for our organization. Flickr has allowed us to find people interested in appropriate technologies as well as find organizations doing similar work who we've missed in google searches.

I would say that the web 2.0 phenomenon is certainly not hype. It's like any other tool that you have to be really aware of what you want to get out of it for it to be maximally useful. You also need to understand what the time tradeoffs and the tech limitations are.

We've found that Org 2.0 won't take the place of other, more traditional marketing and networking activities just yet. For AIDG, all this business is ideal for reaching our supporters/donor base who are roughly 40 and under and/or tech savvy. A lot of our donors who don't fit in this category haven't been to our website in a long while and need direct face time, snail mail newsletters, etc. to be kept up to date on our activities.

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