This week I'm hosting the blog Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants. As always, it features the seven best posts for nonprofits from across the blogosphere, this week focusing on web 2.0 and social networking tools. Enjoy!
1. Jason at A Small Change- Fundraising Blog tells us how blogging can help us fundraise, increase our visibility and how technology can be used to engage new donors.
2. Casey Williams at On Your Feet Project Blog discusses Google Knol and provides actionable advice for non-profits who would like to get involved.
3. Priscilla at Solidariti discusses whether non-profits should get involved in social networking.
4. Kayta Andresen at the Non-Profit Marketing Blog highlights some excellent thoughts on social networking tools.
5. Ken Goldstein at the The Nonprofit Consultant Blog tells us Why Web 2.0 is important to small local nonprofits.
6. Nate Ritter at Perfect Space Blog has an interesting post on ways Twitter can help communities.
7. And finally, Kate Kromann from United Way of Greater St. Louis has been experimenting with social networking and Web 2.0 for about eight months and shares her notes on the topic:
It’s about what they need, not what you want to give them
We’ve discovered some great things, some OK things, some necessary-but-not-that-interesting things and some difficult things. Our biggest lesson so far? It’s all about what our constituent needs, not what we want to give them. Here are some ways we’ve seen that.
GenNext, a United Way group for young professionals, has been using Facebook to spread information about events and volunteering, recruit friends who haven’t been involved in GenNext before and find about United Way news. Lesson: Those in Gen X and younger seek empowerment. They’ll be our megaphone – we have to equip them.
Success: Segmented e-newsletters
How do we possibly reach all of our varied audiences? We’re finding that segmenting them online as well as offline is vitally important. E-newsletters containing targeted information have higher open rates and response rates than any other tool we’ve tried so far. By getting them interested now, we can get them involved later. Lesson: Speak to your audiences as they define and segment themselves, and let them self-select into certain groups.
Between our fundraising events, celebrations and volunteer projects, we generate a lot of photos. We’d been posting them on our site, but with Picasa, people can now submit their own photos or comment on ones we post. Lesson: Give people the chance for feedback – they feel more ownership if they can have a voice.
Since we’re still in the experimentation phase, I have no qualms about sharing a not-so-successful attempt: Twitter. Eight blessed people are following us on Twitter. That tells me people don’t want our news updates to buzz on their phone. Our challenge? Come up with something they do want, and give it to them.
So what’s next? We’re playing with some new tools – developing a Google map with all of our 600 agency locations, for example. We’re building a You Tube channel. Hopefully, we’ll be launching a blog by the end of spring. But really, what will never change about our strategy is listening to our audience and refining, tweaking or totally scrapping things based on what they want.
Thanks to everyone who submitted posts to this episode of the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants. And remember, you can keep track of the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, no matter which blog is hosting, by subscribing to the Carnival feed.