Monthly Archives: September 2008

New Tool, New Volunteer Management in Teams

I’m multitasking today, demonstrating ‘live blogging’ while attending Temple University’s Center for Intergenerational Studies’ webinar on Baby Boomer engagement.

I’ll be back after the webinar with a ‘Cover It Live‘ review…..

Click here to view Part II on Implementing….

Click Here to view my notes on Part I of the webinar on Self-Directed Teams

Read more about teams at http://www.ncoa.org/downloads/wwreport.pdf

You’re probably dazzled by my skills, right?! That cracks me up! You know why? Today is only my second time using ‘Cover It Live‘ .

My sole experience with this ‘live blogging’ tool is looking over the should of someone next to me at a conference, visiting the URL on my own wireless connection & laptop, and poking around at the website to sign in. At the next breakout session, there I was, publishing my notes live on a website I had access to. Not without error, but I was learning as I was doing!! Same thing today–I had to look up how to log in and figure out how to embed the code here. But it took less than two minutes to start up again.

Applications? This is relevant in newsworthy situations–the recent political conventions come to mind, but a conference is a great application–and a great way to experiment with testing the ‘but they didn’t pay to get in’ waters!! It delivers real-time information to people anywhere, and it archives your notes and comments in a readily accessible format. Other ideas for nonprofit applications come to mind?

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Flickr for Connecting

By now, most people who have moved to a digital camera has more than likely uploaded photos to share with others online. Or you’ve received those emails from others: “View my photos at….” and maybe even grumbled because THAT site wasn’t the one you’d already signed into, so you knew you were in for YET ANOTHER login and password. So when a friend grumbled to me recently, “Why aren’t you using your Flickr account to share these…I hate logging in to ANOTHER site,” I was forced to reach into the deep recesses of my memory. Did I have a Flickr account??

Once I dug up that info and complied with her request, I started clicking around in Flickr. Oh boy, was this a vast ocean!

A search lists 1,415 groups with the word ‘volunteer’ in their names and descriptions.

Now, it had never really dawned on me how an organization might use Flickr to create a community. Sure, I saw the value in upload photos for supporters or as a storage place. But connecting around photos gives social networking a whole new aspect!

Here’s an example of a group, where you can start discussions and make contacts.
Here’s an example of how Amnesty is marketing a special project.
Here’s how Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans is encouraging volunteers to share photos of their rebuilding experience.

Granted, moving people from ‘joining’ to volunteering or contributing is a whole ‘nother task, but there’s some easy ways to get started exploring on this one:
– Start a Flickr account for yourself and upload a few pics.
– Create an account or even a group for your organization, and start a discussion about a hot topic in your domain. How about this one: Food banks are running low on food in these tightening economic times–how about a group of pics of food, and then engaging people in a discussion about hunger & what to do about it?

The way this works is that users are online searching for groups by keyword. That’s how they find you. And that’s a discussion for another day….

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It’s Not about Fundraising

I know I said this wasn’t going to be about fundraising, so you’ll be surprised that I’m recommending this book to anyone delving into 2.0 for NPOs:
People to People Fundraising: Social Networking & Web 2.0 for Charities
by Ted Hart, James M. Greelfield, and Sheeraz D. Haji

The first section of the book was so relevant to first forays into the online world. The articles talk about relationship-building, that age-old adage that’s the First Rule of Fundraising. And that’s where social networking comes in–how will you ever be able to fundraise from an online community if you don’t have one?!

The book isn’t a ‘how-to’ but rather presents lots of great examples and ideas, and some simple ‘big picture’ steps to getting started in Web 2.0.

For example,
Are your websites…..?
Usable
Communicating two ways
Responsive to giving, volunteering, and learning needs
Optimized in search engines to locate you
Transparent
Accessible

Interactive websites spur action. You can engage advocates, maybe not in the traditional since of political advocacy, but to market your cause. Here’s how: User-contributed content engages even more people who are interested–it’s the power of the group, and the incentive to be recognized and compete–you’ve seen this happen with forwarding of emails. Well, this is the same concept. Organizations just become the host, who can drive the content but don’t control it. (Take a deep breath…ride the wave…we’re figuring out what message control looks like in Web 2.0 together!)

A tip: Take your content to the people–don’t wait for them to come to your website. What does that mean? Set up a Facebook page, find other sites similar to your mission and engage on them, participate in blogs or groups….don’t worry–the first step is understanding the CONCEPT of not having your website be the end-all-be-all of information.

The internet is here to stay. It’s not a matter of non-profits choosing to get on board with new technologies, it’s a matter of when. Starting something, anything, is good, but there’s also an evolution to be aware of–that supporters who are online at 3AM can also be cultivated, join groups, and even rise to your highest level of engagement via personalized content and a one-to-one (as opposed to the internet’s, and many websites, initial one-to-many) relationship.

Providing multiple ways and portals for people to get involved is important, too. Here’s a good way to know if you’re trying the ‘right’ thing–does it make you say ‘COOL!’?, illustrating that first impressions are still important in the online world.

P.S. For those of you who really did come just for the fundraising info, I’m going to be checking out these ‘social networking fundraising’ portals: FirstGiving, Change.org, JustGiving, and Kintera. Theses site provide online tools that allow your supporters to raise money for you. The catch is that they of course charge for providing you with this opportunity!

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Filed under books, Links, Making the Case

Start Connecting

It’s hard to think about how to get started in this new virtual world, but what’s important is to try something.

When you do, think about how it can be:
visual…are there photos or things that grab attention?
easy…do you require more than 2 clicks to sign up, are you requesting too much of your readers?
incentivized…contests, counters that tally participation, recognition–what will you offer?
community-oriented…can people feel part of a group, are there special people (large donors, stars) already involved?
fun…are there games, quizzes, fun ways to interact?

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