Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can Small Nonprofits Reap Success With Social Media? (Giving away a copy of Twitter for Dummies)

"With the big holiday charitable giving season just around the corner, there's a host of cause-related giving campaigns waiting in software launch and nonprofits gearing up for their end-of-the-year efforts. Some will launch sooner, while others have already swung into action.

Take for example Big Warm Up, a campaign by Lands End to encourage people to donate winter coats to homeless people. This cause-related campaign has a big fancy web site and nonprofit partners. They've also taken a leaf from Mom's Rising's playbook and have videos that you can customize

After last week's social media workshop, a gentleman from a local nonprofit came up to me and said, "Well this social media stuff is all fine and good for large national advocacy organizations, but it is not very relevant for small or regional organizations with really tight resources."

And many small, grassroots nonprofits may look at big beautiful flash web sites and giving campaigns
knowing that they probably won't have corporate sponsorship at that levels.

Whenever I get this question, I wonder myself. Is social media appropriate or relevant for smaller resource strapped organizations?

Today, I got an email from a blog reader, Cindy Williams, who is the founder of a nonprofit, Teaching Hands" They are located in Boise, Idaho. Cindy's nonprofit teaches kids and adults to knit hats and sweaters for less fortunate people in their community. Cindy wrote:

"A couple of months ago I was reading an article about Twitter and went to your blog. At the time was getting my feet on the ground with social networking. I set-up a Twitter account, forgot it, figured a waste of time, until now. I connected with @chrisvoss and learned from his videos how to use Twitter to help my organization.

Today, we are listed as #21/100 from Twitterholic in Boise, Id. From my knowledge we are the only nonprofit in the top 100. We have people around the world talking with us. Building bridges with other nonprofits around the world. We received our first business hiring us as their charity of choice to send proceeds to.

Thank you, for encouraging the little guy like me to tackle social networking. "

So, if your thinking that social media is just for corporate giants and fancy flash web sites to support national campaigns or chains and has no value if you doing work in your local community - think again. Be like Cindy Williams and give it a try.

* What do you have to lose with small low risk investment?
* What do you have lose by having the conversation?
* What is the cost of not participating?

And, if you are small organization and have succeeded, I want to hear about it.

Leave a comment sharing how you're using social media to support your organization's work in a local community or regional effort and using a shoe string budget to do it. And, if you could win a copy of "Twitter for Dummies" that the good folks from Wiley just sent me.

Update: Julio disagrees. He feels that small nonprofits should "just say no" to social media and focus their limited resources elsewhere. I think they should open the conversation and look at what they're doing, what's working and start experiment. It's possible get started without a major investment. What's the opportunity cost?

What do you think?

More articles from Beth. clicking here.