Embracing Nonprofit 2.0 in Your Organization
Embrace your frienemies
Some organizations view Web sites like MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube as competitors. Others view them as valuable outposts on the Internet to attract supporters. What kind of organization are you? In both the online and offline world, there is a constant struggle to build awareness in a sea of competing messages. The organizations that stop viewing external Web sites as competitors and start embracing them as a part of an online strategy will be more successful.
Lately, everyone seems to be questioning whether Web tools such as social networks are actually resulting in donations. This line of thinking is a bit too facile. Since when is the rationale for doing anything solely based on whether it is a direct fundraising source? Sites like Facebook and Eons can help your organization build and maintain relationships with constituents in a high-volume and low-cost way that few offline programs can match. Who could argue that this is good for an organization’s growth and eventual financial stability? Organizations that extend their reach to places frequented by millions of current and prospective constituents are demonstrating their keen understanding of the power of the Internet.
Integrate your channels
Traditional fundraising channels include personal solicitation, events, publications, telephone, stewardship letters and direct mail. These are some of the basic offline tools that most nonprofit organizations utilize. The Internet adds another entire set of channels including Web sites, e-mail, search engines, social networks, (RSS), weblogs, podcasts and more. The organizations that leverage both online and offline channels together will have the agility to communicate in more successful ways.
The first step to integrating your channels is to stop seeing the Internet as an alien technology and start seeing it as a more dynamic and cost-effective set of channels to use when interacting with constituents. Blend these new channels together with your traditional channels to improve your results.
Steve MacLaughlin is the vice president of data and analytics at Blackbaud and best-selling author of “Data Driven Nonprofits.” Steve has spent 20-plus years driving innovation with a broad range of companies, government institutions and nonprofit organizations. He serves on the board of the Nonprofit Technology Network and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events. Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in interactive media from Indiana University.