What a great group! Here’s the slide deck presented at the Region IV Governor’s Conference on Service and Volunteerism yesterday.
If you missed the live presentation, you missed the conversation – which opened up the learning for attendees. I’ll do my best to recreate some of the shared thoughts here – and conclude with a smattering of links that address some of the participant’s questions.
We start with the assertion that social media changes nothing. We still rely on our traditional relationship skills. Engaging in conversation, listening, sharing, reflecting, spending time getting to know each other – all the ingredients we put into building relationship are the elements that drive successful nonprofit social media. The tools are merely tools to help us reach out to more folks in new ways.
But of course, what we want to know is: How do we use these tools? So, we did a general “anatomy lesson” on Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.
Here are the questions and conversations that came up (Remember, this class was meant to be a VERY general overview – consult the resources for more in-depth information):
Do we need people to sign a photo release?
The answer to this depends on a number of factors and we aren’t able to provide legal advice. That said, consider whether public event attendees have any expected right to privacy – and then consider your relationship with your people. Are you serving vulnerable people? Children? You may wish to ask permission, or at least mention that photos will be taken and shared at your programs/events, or ask folks to sign a release waiver at program attendance. You’ll choose based on your organization’s mission and culture.
From NeighborLink’s Andrew Hoffman: Reduced cost Flickr pro accounts with TechSoup Stock
From CANI’s Lauren Caggiano: Find open licensed material – including Flickr pics – that you can used for free as stock images – with The Creative Commons
- WeAreMedia Tool Box on Photo Sharing
- Beth Kanter’s Flickr for Nonprofits Primer (lots of creative nonprofit examples of Flickr)
- ’09 Nonprofit Technology Conference Bootcamp (shared at WeAreMedia)
How do we increase “liker” engagement? We have a ton of fans (likers) but only a few will spontaneously post on our wall. How do we create the online environment that encourages people to interact on our wall – without our prompts?
Here’s the Ladder of Love: Growing Facebook Fans post by Beth Kanter. Beth suggests the answer may be more about what happens off Facebook than the kinds of questions we ask on Facebook. Consider how you engage folks in general and how you create a sense of program ownership in your volunteers and advocates irl (in real life:). And as in all social media: Play, measure and track your results to see what works – and repeat. It takes time to cultivate good relationships – that’s what makes them so good.
When I create a Facebook page, does it link to my personal account?
Nope. You control your personal Facebook privacy (until the day Facebook opens it up for you and then apologizes, ahem).
You should know, however, that the first person to create your organization’s Facebook page will forever be an administrator. For example, I will forever be tied to the Paul Clarke Nonprofit Resource Center page as the administrator. Yes, I can and have added Marilynn and Megan as administrators, but my Facebook admin access cannot be removed. Ever. Hmm. Work around? Make a different account to administer your page? Should I have launched our FB page with a Lettice E. Haver account that I can later delete if need be?
- WeAreMedia’s Tactical and Strategic tracks will help you understand how social media can work for your organization on the whole.
- The Zoetica Salon, aka the Facebook page for Beth Kanter’s blog, allows you to be part of a nonprofit learning culture and conversation.
We had many, many questions about Twitter, and chief among them, was the pivotal, “To Tweet or Not to Tweet?”
Turns out, the answer is highly personal (see a theme?) – as is the answer to the question, what can my organization get out of Twitter? It depends. It depends on how you use it, your organization’s culture and program and how much time you’re willing to invest.
My suggestion is that you can’t go wrong with the “Allen County Public Library’s 21 Things” mantra – play – but do so with your own name first. Before tweeting poorly or misunderstanding how the tech works under your org’s moniker, if you are interested in Twitter – create a personal account.
And … give it time. Twitter is not immediately (*well, sort of) useful of its own accord. You need to develop a voice, learn how to listen and be part of conversations that happen. You *can harvest useful info if you already know who to follow and what hashtags to search. But if that’s all a foreign language, give it time.
Personal vs professional?
Nope – not a full question, but it kept coming up. Which voice should we use? The answers run the range of possibilities, and you guessed it, are highly personal. you SHOULD create a social media policy that gives your co-workers guidance on the matter. They are totally on Facebook. How cool are you with not talking about it? Check out the resources we pulled together on creating a social media policy (not a strategy, folks. Policy informs strategy – and we do love a good policy).
We had a request for more PCNRC training – aka – longer sessions to get into the how-to’s of Social Media. While our schedule is full, we’re looking at how we can squeeze in more time for social media learning this year. You’re so hard to say no to. In the mean time, we recommend some of the local resources (those that we know about:) for social media:
We also suggest joingig the nonprofit social media breakfast spearheaded by Andrew Hoffman of NeighborLink through NINA. We’re just not sure when that happens, so once we get the tweet back, we’ll post it here. ***Update*** the next meeting of this group has yet to be scheduled – we’ll share the info when we hear it.
Not able to attend Fort Wayne’s groups? Create your own. We’ve all got questions and different experiences and we guarantee you’ll have interest if your community doesn’t already host a regular conversation. (We are not betting people, btw).
We closed by asking, attendees:
What’s your biggest challenge in volunteer management?
You told us: retention and engagement
What’s your biggest challenge in social media?
You told us: time
Might we suggest that you flip it around and consider the challenge: how you can use social media to address retention and engagement? How are you using the golden opportunity to reach out, engage, share, connect and build relationships with volunteers through social networking? If you think of social media as new tools that allow you to foster relationship, conversation and connection, what changes?
Many thanks for your enthusiasm, attendees. You do great work and give of yourselves in so many ways! It’s a joy to serve with you.
What are your nonprofit social media tips and resources?