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Should Our NPO Get Into Social Media?

Twitter (the 140-character micro-blog) and Facebook (the cool communication tool loved by the Millenials) are two social media platforms that nonprofit (community benefit) organizations are playing with, applying, checking out. I recommend you get into the act.
Yes, you run the risk of getting hooked…addicted to the wealth of people, blogs, ideas out there on the internet. The cool thing is that Twitter helps you find interesting stuff quickly, and Facebook helps provide a low-cost platform to communicate if you have lots of volunteers, members, special event participants, clients who are comfortable being “out there.”
And today, the Gen X and Gen Y folks particularly ave very comfortable being out there.
I’m a pre-boomer, so I’m a bit out of my element, using all these tools.
But when I jumped into Twitter last spring, I was hooked. I now follow over 700 people and organizations, and have 750 following me. And I’m just getting started! I use the new Twitter list feature to help me organize folks: Social Media Mavens, Nonprofit Gurus, Boston, Food, Travel, Nonprofit Orgs are just a few of the groups. This helps me focus in when I visit Twitter for one or two 45-minute sessions each day to see what folks are saying, send a few Direct Messages when the spirit moves, and post ideas that I’m working with…interesting things I’m reading.
I follow @johnhaydon, a social web strategist. He comments on and finds interesting social media users. He gets way over my head when he advises webmasters and other techies on things like Facebook Connect. Social Media Developers get a lot from John.
Also like to read @afine…Allison Fine…who describes herself as a “social media guide. She finds links to stuff NPO leaders like to know.
@gatesfoundation is always interesting. They are the biggest foundation out there. I’m interested in knowing what they’re interested in.
@nonprofitorgs is a great Twitter micro-blogger. They have 236,000 followers! They recently blogged on ‘how to raise social media ROI” at http://bit.ly/8mFgzH.
There is so much to learn out there, and so little time.
I met Joanna Rothman at the Mass Nonprofit Net conference last month. She’s the Volunteer and Marketing Manager at WGBH and is using Facebook to keep her volunteer crew communicating. She’ll be speaking at the Nonprofit Consultants Network (Boston) March 26 panel I’ll chair on social media.
Please feel free to contact me for more neat folks to follow. I like to learn by example. And there are some great people out there helping make the case why the answer is YES: Your Nonprofit should Get Into Social Media!

Steve Smith
Principal
It’s The Results, LLC
Board Development. Strategic Planning. Fundraising

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