We live in a news-skimming, Facebook-scrolling, content-on-demand world. It is undeniable that the power of social networking has transformed the way we engage with one another. Many argue that the outpouring of tweets, posts and shares from activists within politically charged movements, like
Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, wouldn’t have scaled their movements without the power of social networking.
Let’s face it, the Walter Cronkite broadcast era of distilling information is history.
Online Community for Social Impact Nonprofits
The social media era we live in today has made it easier for businesses to amplify their brand, but what about social impact nonprofits interested in leveraging online communities to grow their networks?
To leverage online communities correctly, websites for social impact nonprofits need to reflect the value of community in their story and mission, because people don’t give to organizations;
people give to people.
A new donor’s connection to a certain cause can be often traced back to a friend or influencer in their life. The rise in crowdfunding, online petitioning, and social media have given communities the opportunity to connect around causes they believe in.
Coalitions of activists, philanthropists, volunteers and fundraisers are able to communicate their values and reach an audience that is willing to listen and respond to their passions.
However, the problem social impact nonprofits face is that online communities for social good take a lot of time to build and nurture. I worked for an organization that provides microfinancing (through crowdfunding) to alleviate poverty.
My biggest challenge was inspiring individuals to fundraise for the cause. In online communities, how do you delight them to take certain desired action?
Tips: Community Management for Social Good
New question. What would Justin Bieber do?
Justin has masterminded the game of engaging online communities, though unfortunately, I have not asked Justin what’s worked for him. Through experience though, I have learned some community management tips and tricks and here is how I think you could make everyone a belieber for your cause.
1) Identify your WHY and lead with it
To convey an organization’s story or mission effectively online, you should be able to articulate in your messaging WHY you value your work over HOW or WHAT you are doing at your work.
With that, you will be more confident and more inspiring to your network of support.
2) Listen closely to your community
Understand your community and where they are coming from. If you can’t relate to your core constituency, it will be reflected in the way you deliver your brand and mission. This will consequently turn your community off.
3) Community is a two-way street
When inbound tweets, posts or comments are thrown your way, don’t allow the conversation to go cold. If they are directed to your nonprofit or business, even sending a simple one or two sentence message could translate into value for your organization and cause.
You want to be able to connect and facilitate a conversation. Without that element, community management becomes more about marketing a brand rather than nurturing a community.
Online communities could be a lightning rod for your cause or organization; you just have to ensure you have all your ducks in a row to move your community towards action. If you are building a website for social good, it is important to recognize community in your story and mission.
As Digital and Social Media Guru Brian Solis (@briansolis) said, "Community is much more than belonging to something: it’s about doing something together that makes belonging matter." Share that sense of belonging on your website for social good.