Has your organization adopted a networked mindset? If not, your future success and relevance may be in jeopardy. Because in our increasingly connected world, only a networked approach enabled by social technologies will allow us to fully occupy philanthropy. Your E.D./Board President wants that to happen, right? Well…
How can we generate excitement and commitment from our nonprofit leaders? Keep in mind we’re not asking folks to do something at odds with their role. We’re asking them to (ahem) L E A D. It’s always best to begin with a strategy. Go to your E.D. with something fully baked. Here are the ingredients:
- Clearly articulate key goals/outcomes. What will happen as a result of engaging in social media? Will you have more donors? More volunteers? Greater brand awareness? How might you measure success? Everyone has to be on the same page as to the purpose of this strategy.
- Bring in a strategic planning/implementation outline that suggests an organized, well-communicated planning process. Note that everyone (in different departments) who stands to benefit will be included, at least by interview, to get accurate perceptions of what different folks want from a robust social media strategy.
- Enlist a champion. Find someone (on the board or the executive management team) who will become an advocate. If you can’t find one internally, cite examples of respected organizations in your community who’ve made the shift (like Debbie Alvarez-Rodriguez and Goodwill in San Francisco). You may even be able to set up a meeting between your E.D. and theirs. Sometimes folks don’t like going out on a limb, but they’ll join others who are out there (I’ve done this; it works).
- Bring in stakeholders from different areas in your organization; engage early in the process. They must feel ownership or they’ll continue to question it.
- Don’t try to sell it as a way of cutting costs. There’s no free lunch. It takes time to engage – and that’s the whole point of social media. It’s social. Sell on the basis of how it will expand on what you’re able to do, helping you to reach out to new constituencies while bonding more tightly with existing markets.
- Inventory skills possessed by existing staff members and/or volunteers. Who on your staff is social media savvy? Who’s a good photographer or videographer? Who can write compelling copy? It may seem less daunting if your boss can see that you already have some of the necessary resources in place. These folks can even become the beginnings of a “social media team.” Of course, you’ll ultimately want to put one person in charge as decisions must be made; plus, someone must assure that everyone adheres to the plan.
- Consider hiring a consultant to be a thought leader and partner with your E.D. in making this cultural shift. Yes, this costs money. And you think you can’t afford it. Yet perhaps (depending on your internal resources) this is a case of where you can’t afford not to do this. Because putting resources into this effort signals, like nothing else, that your organization is “all in”. Goodwill hired someone (and their new website is awesome; check out the share buttons on the upper right of their site).