Your Volunteers Make, Or Break, Web 2.0 Outreach — But You Have To Help Them Do It Right

Your Volunteers Make, Or Break, Web 20 Outreach -- But You Have To Help Them Do It RightYou know an idea is big when it bubbles up from various sources at the same time. That’s what’s been happening today with this one…

Putting social media tools to work should be on your “to-do” list for 2009, although you have to take a quick look at what your communications goals are before jumping in. But even if you don’t see a strong immediate match with your goals, it makes sense to experiment with a tool or two so you’ll be up to speed when the time is right.

At a minimum, start with:

  • Facebook: Both Fan and Cause pages for your organization, and a personal page for you (so you get to know how Facebook works, and doesn’t work). “The Cause will require little upkeep and should spread virally with only a little help, while you can focus on maintaining the Page with current content and information, much like a website, ” says Aaron Palmore with the Human Rights Campaign.
  • LinkedIn: Personal profile for you, and a group for your organization (so other LinkedIn users can affiliate themselves with your org, and you can reach them easily via LinkedIn).

But once your org is using some social media tools, putting your existing volunteer base to work is the best way to build out your social media presence. Here’s how:

  • Ensure your base knows your org is out there on Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr or whatever by:
    • Featuring links on your homepage to those pages and profiles. This is so obvious, but less than 5% of nonprofit orgs using Facebook and other social media do it. Here’s a few that do:
      • Greenpeace, but it’s way at the bottom of the page. Move it up top!
      • Sierra Club, middle of the right column. A bit buried.
    • Including links in your email signature, to your Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles.
  • Empower your volunteers as organizers to build awareness of and engagement in your cause. But you have to feed them the right content and tools to do it right.
    • CauseWired author Tom Watson advised orgs participating in an online discussion today to “free up your content and volunteers to organize in the venues they prefer.”
    • Here’s how the Red Cross provides its volunteers with “tools [they] can use to help [their] online fans, friends and family join the Campaign for Disaster Relief.”

How are you making it easy for your volunteers to organize via Web 2.0? Email me and I’ll share with Getting Attention readers.

Nancy Schwartz on December 17, 2008 in Nonprofit Communications, Social Media, Volunteers, Web 2.0 | 0 comments
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