Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web 2.0
Technologies to Recruit, Organize & Engage Youth
by Ben Rigby
(See initial post here.)
How important is it?
Pew says 80% of college students are on Facebook. They’re the heaviest users and are on daily; also, Facebook’s fastest growing users are over 25. Social network sites are a bridge to your organization’s future on the web. They provide a feed to provide alerts and updates to your subscribers, fans, volunteers–however you choose to think of them. First set some goals:
Gain x supporters, x new subscribers to news, see online connectors contribute ‘actions
Social networks change the way non-profits interact. Think of friendships you’ve gained from various groups–well, this is the same way online networks operate, and it’s changing the way NPOs communicate: between people, not from your organization to an audience.
One way to start is by surveying your existing supporters about which network they use. Try adding a poll or a blog to your existing web presence as a way to pose this question. You’ll also a need a way to capture readers’ imaginations with so many other sites competing for attention.
Loss of Control:
Most organizations experience barriers of strict messaging and branding control or editorial layers; young or developing organizations are thus perfectly poised in current system to adopt new online presence.
This fear is often cited as a reason why orgs don’t adopt new media, and while it’s true that there IS a loss of control about what others say about you online, it’s a perfect reason why some organizations will excel in this arena: those who do a good job of educating volunteers about their mission & programs, and those who don’t have lots of editorial bureaucracy & rules.
Some creative ideas to begin engaging volunteers online: create a persona embodying the principles of your organization & get followers, ask staff and maybe ‘famous’ people to be guest bloggers, develop a group ID where Twitterers can follow you.
Where to start?
With a blog–free, enables you to practice with Web 2.0 brevity and tools, is the next step beyond a website; its content is still within your domain (control, if you like), makes a nice, easy transition to new media for some of your web viewers, and starts to open dialogue. Not to mention that the extra webpages increase the opportunities for search engines to find your organization, by the shear mention of key words or phrases that people associate with you!
Social networking sites take under 2 minutes to set up, but then what??? They need you to have a strategy to connect with people and constantly refresh new content and they create an additional system with which you have to operate.
You’ve got ’em–now what to do with them? Uploading to a photo-sharing site is just the beginning. Tag, and encourage your volunteers to tag, photos with your name and other keywords…..provide a way for volunteer photographers to share content with your organization and all its web viewers….hold a photo contest to generate activity….post comments on others’ photos with links back to yours…initiate a ‘group’ on a photo site and encourage others to join, e.g. a petition-like sign up via photos describing ‘why I’m committed to x cause’…have a conversation–think about how photo & video be used to generate user/volunteer discussion.
Create a Wikipedia entry.
Sign up for RSS and/or Twitter and follow others for ideas.
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