Reading during the holiday season
After 12 weeks, I have finished reading The Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Alison Fine. What I have learned is that nonprofits volunteers and donors are crucial to the organizations. They are what drive the organization’s mission.
In Chapter 8, Fine and Kanter talk about the significance of working in crowds. Through social media, organizations are able to build and strengthen large groups of people for a low price. Through the power of social media, organizations are able to reach, influence and engage people. Working as a group has many benefits such cost efficiency and time-saving.
“..Crowdsourcing is a marriage between professionals and volunteers who have the goodwill and passion to work together to benefit an entire community.”
The 1:10:100 rule demonstrates the power of social media, where for every one person who creates content, ten share it and 100 view it. It is important for nonprofits to not loose site that their donors and volunteers are people too. They are not our clients but our partners. We must remember to be grateful for their support and furthermore, share stories of who they have helped. Stories can often empower and strengthen connections between the public and the organization.
So what is the networked nonprofit? It is about being transparent, being simple, listening, engaging and building relationships.
Overall review: I think this book is great for those who are just dipping their toes into the nonprofit sector (such as myself). It is an easy read, where every chapter has a ‘real life’ example of the lesson. As social media becomes more embedded in our every day lives, Kanter and Fine provides great insight on how nonprofits can leverage this platform to their advantage. I would highly recommend this book!
To read the book online for free, click here.
One of the biggest challenges nonprofits are faced with is ability to allocate money in the most effective and resourceful way possible. Nonprofits rely heavily on donations in order to run the organization, but do you know where your donor dollars are going?
Why does this employee make so much money? I don’t want my donations going to this cause! Stop wasting money on mail outs!
As someone who overlooks the national public inquiries mailbox for a nonprofit, these are some of the common concerns that donors have. It is important for donors to know how much of every dollar of their donation is actually going to the cause. A great way to find out is through Charity Intelligence. The website ranks over 650 charities based on factors such as donor accountability, financial transparency, needs funding and cost-efficiency.
Transparency aids in organizational accountability. Nonprofits need to engage honestly and openly with the public and their employees. When organizations are transparent, they are able to gain more trust and have a higher chance of becoming life-long donors. Whether it is sharing negative or positive statistics, it allows the public gain insights of the realities that nonprofits face on a daily basis. Rather than try to cover things up, organizations must help donors understand what is going on.
As Fine and Kanter write, “Transparency is not a buzzword or a system; it is a way of thinking and being for organizations”.
In the age of digital era, the use of social media has almost become habitual. For some, this platform of communication is part of their day-to-day lifestyle. It is important that non-profits use social platforms to harness the power and influence that is has on users.
For those working in a non-profit environment, you understand that every dollar you have is a dollar you need to stretch. Unlike typical marketing campaigns that can cost up to million of dollars, social media can reach a large audience with less money. Social media can also help create positive change in relationships among people inside and outside of the organization. Social platforms allows people outside of the organization to engage in a two-way conversation about the work of the organization. This allows organizations the chance to correct any misconceptions the public may have about them. For myself, I work for an organization that many people claim that are against the LGBTQ+ community where in fact, the organization helps anyone who comes through our doors.
Some organizations may also have hesitations in using social media platforms. They fear that their mistakes will be tracked and stored to use against them. However, we must train our staff and trust them to share ideas and talk about the work of the organization with the public.
Social media allows for organizations to connect with the public on a deeper level. Rather than using it to cram CTA’s down people’s throats, we must use these platforms to create meaningful relationships that turn into life-long donors and advocates. Organizations must listen to users and turn their suggestions in to actions.
As Kanter and Fine writes, “Whether a nonprofit organization refuses to change or is stuck in transition, however, the reality is that organizations have no choice but to change”.
Nonprofits do great things. They inspire social change and strive to make a positive impact in the communities around us. It can be easy to be lost in the number and message and forget about those who help drive nonprofits.
After reading the first three chapters of Beth Kanter and Alison Fine’s book, she reminds readers that volunteers and free agents help raise awareness and advocate your mission. With the rise of social media, these free agents have a new platform that can amplify your message from online to offline. Social media allows people to create their own stories and share them with their friends. We mustn’t ignore these free agents but embrace them and social media and let it work in favour of the organization.
“Social Media Powers Social Networks for Social Change”
Free agents can be allies and amazing influencers who can attract large numbers of people to support your cause. If NFP harnesses this relationship, they are able to inform people who are passionate about your cause.