Web 2.0 Nonprofit Success Stories - Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

Lori Halley 05 May 2008 1 comments

The "Web 2.0 Nonprofit Success Stories" submitted to the NPC Carnival this week led to a selection of nonprofit organizations that are widely varied in terms of size, budget, and reach.

Each group is using the Internet and Web 2.0 tools in a different way to meet its goals, but some common themes emerge; most notably, perhaps, the power of word-of-mouth marketing to broadcast an appeal.

In SocialButterfly 's Free Rice: Mixing Online Learning and Entertainment with Giving, for example, Alexandra takes a closer look at the United Nations Free Rice Program, "both collaborative and innovative, taking the potential of social media to a new level."  Yes, the Internet has other successful and high-profile programs of the click-to-donate-free model, but Free Rice stands out for its dual goal (to aid English language literacy, and to help fight world hunger), and for the ingenious way in which the program is designed to reward its participants: by tapping into that strong human urge to beat our own last top score!

Alexandra's "case study" post discusses how this deceptively simple game-based giving program was created and why, how it's financed, the results since the program's inception in 2007, and how the donated rice gets distributed to people in need. The large nonprofit organizations are really starting to figure this sort of thing out out, and there's much to be learned by watching how they're shaping their online campaigns.

Joanne Fritz, guide at About Nonprofit, tells us how UNICEF Uses Web 2.0 to Double Video Views.  At first as an experiment, UNICEF took their cause (and existing online videos) to a new younger audience on MySpace. When its MySpace page gained 10,000 Friends, the ad hoc approach was replaced by a well-thought-out process that made excellent use of Web 2.0 tools and tricks from optimized tags to banners and badges, as well as videos, podcasts and constantly updated news. As Joanne notes:

In addition they used their relationships with the celebrities who work on behalf of UNICEF (Goodwill Ambassadors). Some of these people had MySpace pages and were willing to ask their friends to check out the UNICEF page or to place a UNICEF banner on their page.

Jason, at A Small Change, sees this kind of peer to peer fundraising as the next great wave, where word-of-mouth gives nonprofits a fourth avenue for generating funding and popular support. (Perhaps we can call it Fundraising 2.0?) Elizabeth Able responded to Jason's post with a nod to the potential of charity badges:

Done right... a donation widget could become an expression of community, and the online community is *big* and getting more social all the time.

In fact, a Network for Good charity badge was one tool used to raise awareness and to track donations for Bernie Berlin's A Place To Bark, a 501c3 non-profit organization that last year rescued and re-homed more than 500 unwanted animals, many of whom has been injured or abused. At her Foodie Farm Girl blog, Susan highlights the success of that online fundraising appeal:

While A Place To Bark didn't win one of the four $50,000 America's Giving Challenge grants (so close in 5th place!), Bernie and the animals were still big winners. A Place To Bark received over $42,000 in donations, and the Zoline Foundation awarded her a matching $35,000 grant.

Nonprofit success stories like these - large and small - remind us that, down here at the individual level where Web 2.0 works its strongest magic, philanthropy is not always about a tax deduction; and volunteerism is not always about putting a looks-good item on a resume, building a professional reputation, or making new business contacts.

It's about the human need to make contact with others in a meaningful way. As Katya says, in her must-read post - Six Steps to Social Media Success  - at the NonProfit Marketing Blog:

Technology is cool. It can be incredibly effective way to promote your cause. But hard wires don’t necessarily create human bonds. Your social media strategy can’t simply be a toolset – it needs to be a conduit to living beings....
Technology doesn’t compel people. People do. 

 

Keep track of the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, no matter which blog is hosting, by subscribing to the Carnival feed.

 

Do you have a Success Story to tell?
Please share your thoughts in the comments, below.

How does your organization connect online with members and a broader audience? What's worked for you? Are there any ways you'd like to be able to connect but haven't been able to put in place yet? And if your group has a current online appeal or campaign you'd like to highlight, feel free to tell us about that, too!

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 05 May 2008 at 3:40 PM

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