Beyond Web 2.0 Buzz
Web 2.0 is the new kid on the block, for businesses and nonprofits alike. What follows any introduction of the phrase “Web 2.0” is a host of terms like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Second Life, etc. — the list seems endless and grows by the day. It’s easy to get lost in the buzzwords, but the key to leveraging Web 2.0 capabilities is to do what your organization should have been doing all along: focusing on its mission and message.
This was the advice shared by the presenters of a session on “How to Handle the Web 2.0 Curve Ball” at the DMA Nonprofit Federation 2007 New York Nonprofit Conference last week.
Sheeraz Haji, president of Convio, got the ball rolling, discussing the key benefit of Web 2.0 tools: the ability to grow an organization’s constituent base. Adding Web 2.0 capabilities to its online presence helps an organization make its site more engaging and allows it to go where supporters are, rather than wait for them to come knocking on its door.
The main challenge The International Rescue Committee finds with Internet outreach is that it doesn’t tend to attract a younger demographic of donors and supporters, Chief Marketing Officer Marc Sirkin said. The organization has begun using Web 2.0 strategies to gain access to new, untouched donors and advocates, which Sirkin says has worked, but there’s not yet a complete picture in terms of data and statistics as to the success of the strategies.
He recommended the following tips to session attendees:
1. What are you waiting for? Get going.
2. Learn on your own; set up your own profile on MySpace or Facebook before jumping in and creating a profile for your organization.
3. Think about “identity” management in terms of brand, etc.
4. Don’t worry too much about tracking at first.
5. Make life easy. Repost existing content/images/video that you have on your Web site.
6. Include a way to sign up for your e-newsletters on your profile page.
Jo Sullivan, senior vice president of development and communications for the ASPCA, also discussed her organization’s experiences with Web 2.0 strategies. Sullivan said that while at the turn of the century the Web might merely have been a new “channel,” it now is a “platform” that offers paid and earned media opportunities and opportunities for cultivation through meet-ups and moderated discussions, and enables users to generate content in the form of audio, video and editorial.
Sullivan said the goal with Web 2.0 efforts — as with all constituent contacts — is first to cultivate constituents and make them feel good about supporting you and then educate them about your cause so they feel motivated to take an action or give.
She advised organizations:
1. Be creative and look for alternatives to build 2.0 components into measurable things you already are doing.
2. Do a search for your organization on Google or Technorati. You will find there are a lot of people talking about you, so make sure you’re feeding them the right things to say.
3. Work toward new ways to measure this audience. For example, do a Web survey to see how many members/supporters have a link to your organization on their blog or Web page.
4. Develop and implement a conversion strategy that would drive Web 2.0 users to become registered users on your site, and then eventually donors. Measure this conversion strategy constantly.
5. Encourage organizational collaboration by inviting key program and marketing folks together to lay out a plan.
Check out this video in which Marc Sirkin, chief marketing officer at The International Rescue Committee, shares Web 2.0 tips.