From the NTEN Conference: Whoa, Nelly! Web 2.0 is Cool, But …
3. Not all social networks are the same.
In one of the more no-nonsense sessions of the conference titled “How Do Social Networks Fit Into Your Communications Strategy?” EchoDitto principal and founder Brian Reich summed up the differences of more than 15 social networks. His point: Success will come to the nonprofits that focus on niche social networks and communities.
Reich reduced his advice to five simple points:
1. Become a member of social networks where the people you want to reach already are.
2. Lurking on social networks is OK, but if you want to build a community, people have to know you are there.
3. Experiment with different communications styles. You can always recover from initial missteps.
4. Support what others are doing.
5. Succeeding on social networks requires that your nonprofit go outside its comfort zone.
“If you leave this session thinking, ‘My nonprofit needs a Facebook strategy,’ then I have failed miserably,” Reich said toward the end of his session.
Other sessions that dealt with Web 2.0 fundraising included consultant and blogger Beth Kanter’s session, “The Web 2.0 ROI: Are All These New Tools Really Delivering Value to the Sector?” and M+R Strategic Services’ Hilary Zwerdling’s session, “Fundraising in Social Networks: Are You Ready?”
(For more information on the Web 2.0 sessions, have a look at a See3 Communications blog entry called NTEN Does Web 2.0.)
In light of the mood at this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, the foreseeable future of online fundraising will remain a balancing act between top-down and bottom-up processes for articulating and funding an organization’s mission. The challenge for nonprofits is to avoid over-hyped expectations of Web 2.0 fundraising while not shunning social networks and social media altogether.
Peter Deitz is a microphilanthropy consultant and founder of Social Actions, a service aimed at helping individuals and organizations use social media to plan, implement and support peer-to-peer social change campaigns.