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April 10, 2008



What different kinds of stickiness could you foresee for a health and human services non-profit attempting to cater particularly to small businesses in a 10 town area?


Kirk - A great question...

I believe each organization must determine the stakeholders that they would like to engage through social networking - is it staff? Donors? Partners? Experts in the field? Possible clients? The families of clients? For each group, there can be some level of "stickiness"...for instance, in the case of a health and human services organization, client information must remain confidential and there must be policies in place to address the control of that information should staff engage in developing support for the organization through social networking. Clients must not be exploited to increase donations...just one example. It will be interesting to watch over the coming months and years to see how organizations do begin to make these difficult, complex decisions.


Thank very much for the response. Now to the tough question. How does the NP get the small business donor to buy into a social networking platform for giving?


Yes, a tough question. You must consider what the small business donor will get in return from spending the time required to engage in the social networking. For example, if the purpose of the interaction is to share knowledge and best practices, and then if they gain those things, consider donating...that may work. In some ways, it can not be about the donation -- but about the value of connecting these organizations -- and individuals to each other.


Thanks. That's exactly what I am proposing in my project. I have come up with a few ideas about what can be offered to the SB on the site, most of which is just increased PR for the sm. business and little else.
I am a little stumped on what can be done to add value for the sm. business owner. Sharing knowledge, information and best practices are great examples but other SN options exist for the sm. business in this arena. Even if they are not tech savvy and become a member for the sm. business networking, they would most likely not stick around when they become aware of other SN sites focused primarily on the sm. business. I feel the traditional emotional tugging and civic pride would still have to play a significant factor.


Great post, Anne - Thanks for giving me a heads up about it via twitter.

Coincidentally I was just this morning discussing related issues with Facebook directly! Twice now (in the space of 2-3 weeks) my privacy settings have been overridden due a glitch in the system. In both cases it took administrators 8-24 hours to respond, which has left me to decide to remove all private information from my personal profile that I do not want to ever be accidentally released to the public.

What makes this issue particularly relevant is that I have been exploring Facebook as an option for an ASO that I volunteer with as well as another nonprofit that I may begin to assist in their social media outreach.

What this incident has left me feeling is that certain social media is better viewed as the evolution of billboards and/or ads versus a revolution in interacting with prospective clients and donors.

The additional problem with the above incident that I described is now the increased need for staff/volunteers to vigilantly monitor any site or service they use for social media outreach which then adds to the burden of a non-profits time resources vs. promises of helping them better use their limited time and energy.


Yes, I believe that in many ways social media is a new TACTIC versus a revolution...but it will be fascinating to observe how it evolves and if five years from now, nonprofits who have embraced it and immersed themselves in developing, managing, and overseeing their online social media presence are experiencing increased donations and visibility due to heir efforts. It is a huge question right now for many organizations - is this worth it and under what circumstances?


I agree with the tactic definition.

Your five year into the future and current worth are tied together in my opinion and spot on.

As of this point, I think the worth for many of the local and smaller non-profits, the value of the tactic, must be measured against the expense of the usage - mainly measured in time and staff resources. Though to bring it full circle to your original post there is also the expense in potential liability issues too.

What I think we will witness within the next five years is a continuing rush of many nonprofits to embrace social media with a "must have a presence or lose out" sense of panic which will result in a series of missteps and high profile social media flops that will cause certain orgs pr (and possible donor retrenchment) damage.

Yet like all things, it will only represent a shake up as part of the growing process of social media becoming an established extension or tactic of an overall outreach campaign by any org.

In short, I think Social Media is a must for any org over the long term, but not an urgent must for the sake of it.

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