How to Pinpoint the Right Social Networking Tools for Your Nonprofit, and Get the Support and Budget to Put Them to Work — Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants Weighs In

The traveling Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants brings you the best blog postings on nonprofit issues. For this week’s event, I asked bloggers to advise on how already over-taxed nonprofit communicators can handle the ever-expanding menu of communications channels, especially social networking tools, and what social media have the greatest potential for nonprofits.

I received so many useful responses that I have to break the rule to limit my Carnival to seven post references. I just can’t do it — you’d lose out on too much valuable information and insight. Here goes:

Marc Sirkin, VP of eMarketing at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and blogger extraordinaire at npMarketing Blog, has more experience with social networking than most. He covers several key issues in It’s a Social Networking Carnival, , and emphasizes the importance of communicating as a human being — rather than a marketer — in these venues. The value of being genuine is something I hear a lot these days, Marc.

Kevin Hendricks of Think Personality concurs with Marc in Be Yourself to Make the Most of Social Networking.  He takes it one step further to stress that the social media (social media and social networking used interchangeably here) venue you use must be a good fit. Blogging makes sense when the blogger posts in a genuine, opinion-laden voice; YouTube works great when your nonprofit has footage that really conveys your story, and is willing to give up some control.

Katya Andresen of Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog adds the Five Minute Guide to Social Networking, with a host of tips derived from her travels in developing countries. Seems that there are several relevant analogies between finding one’s way in uncharted territories and with uncharted communications channels. Take 1 — get to know the culture before plunging in.

Emily Weinberg at Emily’s World shares her insights on How Nonprofits Can Use Facebook, including several mini-case studies.

Ken Goldstein at The Nonprofit Consultant Blog introduces us to Care2, an online community specifically for folks looking for volunteer or giving opportunities, in Care2 Join an Online Community?

Michelle Martin at The Bamboo Project Blog summarizes why The Bridge is such an effective MySpace campaign. The Bridge is The Glue Network’s project to build a virtual bridge around the world connecting 24,092 people (the number of miles around the world) who care about helping others (and donate to jump on the bridge).

Jeff Brooks at Donor Power Blog muses on How Blogging Changes Things, emphasizing the necessity of an authentic voice and looking forward to the day when that voice spills over into other communications channels.

Beth Kanter at Beth’s Blog emphasizes the importance of experimentation in understanding which social networking tools are right for your nonprofit, suggests four steps to getting started in Using Social Networking Tools – Advice, Brief Case Study, and Resources.

Nedra Weinreich of Spare Change reports in on The CDC’s Second Life. One of the reason’s behind the CDC’s success in Second Life if its immersion in Second Life culture before taking the plunge. Are you beginning to sense a theme here?

Michael Hoffman,
one of the innovators behind DoGooderTV, posts his take on Social Networking — What’s Real at See What’s Out There.  Michael’s caution to take a breath makes great sense. Don’t jump on the social networking bandwagon because you fear being left behind. Do jump on the social networking learning curve, so you find out what makes send for your nonprofit’s outreach.

David Wilcox, from across the pond at Designing Civil Society, wonders if social networking will, in time, eclipse interest in associations and other membership organizations in Why Bother with Membership?

And finally, my post on MacArthur Foundation Walks the Walk with Launch of Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

Next week’s Carnival, hosted at Donor Power Blog, is an open call. Don’t forget to submit your post. .

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Nancy Schwartz in Blogging for Nonprofits, Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Case Studies, Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications, Social Networking, Strategy, Unique Approaches | 1 comment

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