Get Your Head Out of … the Sand
“Ownership needs to be clearly defined for each social entity, or it will quickly become an empty shell or, with too many [voices], a cacophony of noise,” he says. “The social-media community will realize that quickly and stop returning.
“That represents wasted resources to the organization that won’t easily be recouped. And you may lose brand equity or potential donors who are turned off by your apparent lack of stewardship,” he warns.
Threat or thrill?
With all of the potential positives and pitfalls, where does that leave nonprofits — and especially their fundraising/awareness teams — in terms of social-networking and other e-communications? We asked the people we talked to for this story: threat or thrill?
Durham: “From a consultant or project manager’s point of view, these tools are thrilling. They open up new, exciting ways to reach niche audiences more deeply and with less money. In terms of implementing them on a daily basis, however, it can be overwhelming. Nonprofit staff are already busy — and these new tools only add to their plates.”
Grunke: “It becomes overwhelming and complicated at times if you are not organized in utilizing each resource appropriately. There is so much unknown yet in cyberspace that I think you take a risk when approaching these opportunities.
“In addition, there always seems to be someone thinking of a new way to utilize these resources, so there is a whole ongoing training component involved.”
Tandon: “It’s both taxing and thrilling. Social media is particularly exciting because it [connects] people who care passionately about the brand and work for the organization to people who care passionately about the brand and want to help. Social media represents an unprecedented ability to have direct conversations with your most impassioned supporters and then project those conversations outward to potential supporters. It also provides informal research on how people view your brand that would be very costly to collect otherwise.