by guest Tech writer Jesse Luna (@jesseluna)
I’m proud to be a part of the new convergence between online worlds and offline community-based organizations.
This past week, I helped lead a community building training session with 20 of the county’s top leaders. These leaders were city council members, founders and executive directors of nonprofits, and longtime community activists.
As I introduced myself to some new faces, I told them I was an independent business consultant. A couple of people felt a pitch coming their way and said that their organizations didn’t need that type of help. Then I told them that my goal was to help empower organizations through training and by providing resources to help them succeed online. After I told them that I’d been working with other organizations to help them build their communications and fundraising capacity, they became much more interested. When I told them that I was co-producing the LATISM #CAUSE2012 conference, which focuses on training organizations on social networking, they lit up and we started looking at ways to work together.
Using social media as a part of an organization’s strategic activities is not a given. The value has to be explained. The online community building aspect must be explained. The target of those online activities must be explained. The strategies have to match up with the organization’s mission and vision. When that happens then it’s not about introducing a shiny new website feature or being on a bunch of social networking sites – it’s about helping the organization build power online.
Change.org has different causes and allows people to sign petitions then share them with broader social networks like Twitter. The site gets hundreds of people to sign petitions in a matter of hours. When organizations see this, they can start to envision how their own communities can make a difference by connecting with other online.
The change.org site seems to resonate with organizations for three main reasons:
1) The site goals and objective are crystal clear – get people to interact, sign petitions, and share content.
2) The value of the site is obvious to all, including to the organization’s funders.
3) The site is active and current.
Leading an offline organization to the social Web is a lot more than a matter of website functionality. It is also about understanding how to connect networks and enhance relationships online.
I’ve helped and have seen more and more organizations tap into the power of social media and it is the way of the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jesse Luna has been in the tech industry for the past 12 years doing Web development, marketing, and tech training. He is an active blogger and has created dozens of tech/social media tutorial videos. He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA and Masters in Computer Information Systems from the University of Denver. You can find more of his writings on tech at http://www.jpluna.com/