Tips for Harnessing Web 2.0 Potential
The communications landscape is changing every day and, as it does, more and more nonprofits are realizing that they need to create a presence for their brands where potential supporters are. Today, many of those places are Web 2.0 hideouts like social-networking sites and blogs.
In the Campbell & Co.-sponsored webinar, "Philanthropy 2.0," in March, presenters Leslie Gryce Sturino, director of marketing for Campbell & Co., and Brian Kish, assistant vice president for advancement at Salve Regina University and an annual-giving consultant with Campbell & Co., discussed the Web 2.0 and social-networking tools available to nonprofits and how fundraisers can use them to engage potential supporters.
The webinar began with a brief overview of the Web 2.0 tools that exist — such as blogs, podcasts, Twitter, RSS, wikis, social bookmarking, YouTube and widgets — and their uses.
Some of the differences between mass communications tools and social-media tools are:
- Control. With mass communications, the brand is in control, whereas with social media the audience is in control.
- Message. With mass communications, the conversation is one-way, with organizations delivering messages to their audiences. Social media fosters two-way conversations.
- Focus. With mass communications, the focus is on the brand, whereas with social media the focus is on the audience.
- Purpose. Mass communications are designed to educate, while social media's goal is to influence and involve.
- Content. Organizations create the content for mass communications, while for social-media tools a user creates and co-creates content with the organization.
Social networks and Web 2.0 tools allow organizations to reach out to small affinities, promote reasons to give, learn more and get feedback from supporters, create viral communications, invite supporters to events, use more senses (with audio, video, etc.), and cut costs.
Potential pitfalls of these tools, however, are the loss of control and the public criticism you open yourself to by using them. And it can be a lot to maintain and keep current.