Five Tips to Elicit Member-Created Content
One common characteristic of most Web 2.0 participatory tools is that they give participants and supporters a great deal more control than traditional engagement tools used by nonprofits.
In late December, Beth Kanter, author of Beth’s Blog, posted a write-up about some organizations — e.g., the March of Dimes, the Nature Conservancy and Creative Commons — that have staged photo contests for constituents on Flickr, a popular Web 2.0 tool that offers online photo management and sharing. While some of the contests Kanter highlighted raised money, most — like the Nature Conservancy’s — were focused on raising awareness.
The Nature Conservancy’s Flickr photo group has more than 11,750 photographs from more than 1,840 member photographers, evidence of the potential this tool offers nonprofits. Encouraging constituents to create content like this is a great way to harness the creativity of a mass of people and get them actively involved in a cause, Kanter wrote, adding, “Since they are not creating content in isolation, but in a social context, they may also feel a greater sense of belonging to your cause.”
But building community using these tools doesn’t happen by itself. According to Kanter, only 1 percent of online community members will end up taking action. Some tips for engaging community members to create content garnered from her blog piece include:
1. Have a compelling theme.
2. Work with people who already are creating content related to your campaign.
3. Pick a simple but unique tag for your campaign.
4. Publish the full collection of the content community members have created on your Web site. “Presenting the communal voices of people participating in your campaign adds to the sense of community belonging and can inspire others to participate,” she wrote.
5. Preach beyond the choir, to like-minded people, using the contact and social-networking features built into the participatory tools.