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“Networked Nonprofits don’t work harder or longer than other organizations, they work differently. They engage in conversations with people beyond their walls — lots of conversations — to build relationships that spread their work through the network.” – Beth Kanter 

On Thursday, May 11, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations had the pleasure of hosting internationally renowned nonprofit expert, Beth Kanter for the Networked Nonprofit workshop. The goal is to be a networked nonprofit – but what does this really mean and how can organizations get there?

In short, Kanter says a networked nonprofit is:

  • Simple, agile and transparent
  • Engaging with organizations to reach outcomes
  • Leveraging their personal networks in service of mission
  • Using social media and online collaboration tools to make the world a better place

Most of us would like to think we are masters of social media, but haphazardly pushing out content you find compelling isn’t enough. To be a true networked nonprofit, your organization must have a digital strategy: one that is intentional, targeted and meaningful.  If your organization is jumping on the digital train, here are some tips that will help you define your strategy and set goals.

  1. Define your audience

If you have a well-developed following, now is the time to deep dive into some analytics.  It may sound intimidating, but understanding where your audience’s interests lay doesn’t have to be difficult. Twitter and Facebook have analytics built into their platform, so you can check out who is clicking what and when. From there, you can determine who your audience is and produce content that is both relevant and interesting to them, which will in turn, boost your engagement!

And, if you’re just beginning to gain followers, determine how you will attract the followers you want. For instance, if you’d like to attract volunteers to your organization, showcase volunteer experiences. Try posting stories and personal stories to intrigue those who may be interested.

  1. Define Measurable Objectives

Again, aimless tweeting isn’t effective. Ensure your tweets are purposeful and are bringing you closer to reaching a measurable goal. Perhaps you’d like to gain more followers, reach a target audience, or get more people to visit your website, whatever the goal is, write it down and track your progress.

  1. Use Social Optimization

Social media is interactive, a give and take platform. During your morning scroll, take the time to answer comments or questions directed at your organization, like or comment posts that your tagged in and take part in conversation that is relevant to your nonprofit.

While social media can boost your nonprofit’s presence in the digital community, it is not the end all be all. Traditional communication and meeting stakeholders and community members face-to-face still holds merit now, but in conjunction with a strong digital presence you will be well on your way to becoming a networked nonprofit.

If you’d like more information on how to become a networked nonprofit, check out Beth’s Blog – a handy resource for nonprofit organizations.