Tag Archives: non-profits and social media

Nonprofits Need to Develop a Social Media Strategy

nonprofit, social media, Simmons CollegeEarlier this week I spoke on a panel of social media professionals to 70 executive directors and marketing staff of nonprofit organizations at Simmons College in Boston. The subject was Social Media: Tips and tools for using social media to build support for your mission. The event was organized by the Center for Non-profit Success.

We had a great group of panelists who provided a balance of tools, case studies and strategy. My task was to present on strategy.   While everyone had a Facebook presence, only two or three audience members had a strategy to back up their social media activities. This is common amongst most nonprofits and many for-profits.  Unfortunately, without a strategy in place, these organizations may not be creating content that serves their audience, delivers on their organizational objectives or have the triggers in place to understand how successful their programs are.

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What is that Thing, Called Ning?

Sounds almost Suessical, does it not? I wish it was as simple as that–a fun rhyme. But I discovered Ning under anything but fun circumstances. You see, the Wellness Community of Greater Boston, an organization who has provided free services to people affected by cancer for fifteen years, had to temporarily suspend operations on February 1st, another victim of the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

I have a personal connection to the Wellness Community, in fact, I was one of the first people to pass through the doors when it first opened in Newton, MA.  And when I needed their services again, four years ago, after a recurrence of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, I remembered all I had gained from my association with such an amazing organization. I returned. The office was in a different location, same town, but in the most exquisite setting one could imagine. An old mill building with a view of Echo Bridge and the Lower Falls of Newton, MA.

While we don’t know exactly how the story will end yet, we know this—The United Methodist Church of Newton donated space, and helped move the Wellness Community into rooms of their church. On Monday morning, with most of its services suspended, the support groups which have been a lifeline to thousands of people in the Boston area, resumed services, with the caring staff who are also volunteering their time.

And so, Weber Media Partners, a group which I’m affiliated with, also stepped forward to donate their time and expertise, to help the community stay connected during this time of transition. Ning, a free social networking tool, was selected as the tool to carry out this critical mission. I’m indebted to the generosity of the developers at Ning for enabling non-profit organizations to continue their work, in an easy-to-use, well designed platform.

I really got it this morning when I walked through the doors of the Methodist Church.  While a building may house a community, it’s the people and their commitment to serve, which ultimately harbors a community- until they can get back on their feet again.

Social networking and community service is alive and well. Thank you, Ning!

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