Changing the World with Social Media

Beth Kanter is always on the leading edge of social media adoption and integration. She is the ultimate nonprofit social media maven and was recently featured on Mashable. Here are some of her fundamental assessments of ways social media is shaping the nonprofit world: earth-day1

Giving the message intimacy and relevance.
A few weeks ago, the March of Dimes supporters came out in droves for a networked memorial service for a toddler named Maddie. The community raised tens of thousands of dollars for the March of Dimes in Maddie’s memory as well as covering the funeral costs for the family. The organization did little to stage this event. The March of Dimes has embraced openness and inspired their stakeholders to feel empowered enough to take action on their own.

Making birthdays matter.
Social media is enabling individuals to create, join, and grow groups around issues they care about. I love the way DonorsChoose providing a way to make birthdays a reason to give. And Stephen Colbert is setting the pace with “Birthday Give Back” . And as Beth says, keep an eye out for more social apps with a conscience that will offer even more creative ways for supporters to self-organize and take action around causes. As non-profits begin to engage their own communities in these online conversations, they are able to reach more people than ever before, and using less effort doing so. As Maddie Grant, a partner at SocialFish, observes, “We can all be change agents and that has to be good for the entire nonprofit industry, as long as organizations adapt to this new way of being part of a two-way conversation and groundswell of social responsibility.”

Integrating media.
An interesting example of crowd-sourcing by a nonprofit comes from Michael Tilson Thomas, artistic director of the San Francisco Symphony with the recent performance of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. The performers were selected from thousands of video auditions from around the globe. The finalists were winnowed down by a jury of professional musicians, not unlike a traditional audition, but the winners were crowd-sourced by YouTube users via online voting. The resulting “mashed up” symphony orchestra, had more than 90 players representing over 30 countries.

Driving social change “in house.”
Danielle Brigidia, who is responsible for social media strategy for National Wild Life Federation , says “Internally, we have started to focus on cross-promoting our ideas and programs more thanks to social media tools like Yammer (internal Twitter).” Carrie Lewis, social networking strategist for the Humane Society of the US, observes how their Internet is now working differently. “We have daily 9 minute meetings. Short meetings have helped them be more efficient and effective with every aspect of social media campaigns.”

It’s going to be an exhilarating ride. Join us — and share your stories.

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