Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Nonprofits (or any organization) Can Succeed...

How nonprofits can succeed in the new sustainability paradigm: 6 big lessons from social media.

1. Be nimble but think long term.

Resist fear-based crisis thinking and strive for focused clarity. Respond quickly when it’s advantageous or necessary, but make sure even your quickest actions are in the long-term best interest of your organization.

2. Experiment and analyze.
As one foundation executive recently put it—this is not about doing more with less but doing differently with less.

3. Build and use networks strategically.
Social media are about everyone getting into the conversation; network-building on a world-wide scale. Nonprofits and foundations have been paying lip-service to networking for years, but now it’s time to get seriously intentional and collaborative. Going forward, working together will be a more successful business model than competing with each other.

4. Let the public in.
If you haven’t already, consider opening up a conversation with the public. Don’t just ask for support, ask for their ideas and participation–then listen, keep them engaged, and thank them.

5. Engage young people.
Many young people are passionate about social causes and talented at using the Web 2.0 media that can help you raise awareness and even money. Reach out to them now.

6. Focus on impact.
Activity is important, but impact is more important. Impact is becoming more significant in not only foundation and government funding decisions but also among donors who view themselves as investors looking for the highest yield. Nonprofits need to develop effective, systematic ways of measuring and communicating the human impact of their activities.

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