Mar 5, 2012

Social Media and your non-profit

Association leaders have been aware for some time that the days of the printed newsletter are rapidly coming to a close. What must be developed in place of what has been traditionally thought of as “communications” includes a full-scale immersion in the rapid, disruptive evolution in digital, user-generated content.
Association leaders who are still debating the merits of blogging or wondering if they should engage in social media will find their ability to function in the video-driven new media landscape severely compromised. As the publishers and “keepers of the keys” to vast amounts of information about industries and professions, association leaders have a responsibility to actively engage in exploration and experimentation with all new forms of media lest they find themselves increasingly irrelevant in the publications landscape.
I know that my Project Management Institute local chapter struggles with this concept.  We have tried newsletters - but that takes a dedicated volunteer and input for articles to fill the pages.  Facebook and Twitter need constant attention and data or the information gets lost in the stream.  We are still trying to figure out how to reach out to the next generation so we can remain viable and relevant in this new technological age.  Any Thoughts?


  1. As the newsletter editor of several organizations from my past. I would agree it's time consuming. When I was facilatator of a mental health group, I tried to kick things up a notch using emails and Twitter. Most folks did NOT like me doing that. They preferred telelephone calls or snail mail notifications. I must tell you this surprised me, in this day and age. But that is what I discovered worked best. Since I don't do Facebook and most of them didn't either, we did not try it. Times they are a changing.

  2. In my experience with non-profits, I've found that regardless of the media or method of communication, if one person doesn't "own" the process, you can end up with a mess! Since the secretary has generally been responsible for communication in the groups I'm involved in, they have been responsible for newsletter production or its "replacement". Websites, we learned quickly, are too cumbersome for most groups to handle effectively,, and soon become cursed with outdated information, bad links, and frustrated members and supporters. Facebook only works if everyone in the group agrees to join and use it, but again, someone has to take the helm to monitor the stream to ensure appropriate content. Things are complicated but the fact that you are trying to reach 2 audiences: an "older" group who is set in their ways, resistant to change, and technophobic; and a "millennial" group who craves technology as a way to differentiate themselves, wants instant access to all information all the time everywhere, and has no patience or sympathy for the older group who may be left in the dark. For the time being, you've got to cater to both groups to reach everyone, creating extra work for the leaders. Those I've worked with have not found a way around it!

  3. I wish I did, will be hanging on to read others thoughts and also maybe what if anything is changed. I know a web site is sorta like a news letter, it also takes a dedicated person to keep it up to date, which is much worse than a newsletter because the stuff can hang on for months and someone might think it is current.


Tell Me What You Think, Don't Make me go Rogue on you :o)