Web 2.0 Blog – Discovering Innovation Opportunities using Social Media

Archive for the ‘Non Profit’ Category

Google announced some expanded free services for non profits recently. They are not neccessarily the most user friendly services out there though. I have noticed with the google interfaces in general. I guess they want to encourage API development to improve on these issues.

So if you are non profit (or for profit and want to take advantage of low cost google services ..AND SOME ARE FREE for FOR PROFITS as well) here is a list of services which we created more detailed instructions for. (also found at http://www.market4good.com/resources.aspx):

Host your domain with Google
You need this to setup email and a webpage under your domain.

Gmail for an organization
You can use your own domain and still use the gmail system as your mail server.

Setup Individual Email Accounts
Manage many email accounts under your domain name.

Google start page
You can make it easy to find your shared calendar and put custom content or news.

Google Calendar
Share the events you want everyone in your organization to know about.

Web Pages.
You can setup a web page for your organization with google.

Admin Dashboard
Lets you administer the other google services you have set up.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Collaborate with shared spreadsheets and documents which multiple people can maintain shared documents.

This is meant as a 101 intro to new media uses by nonprofits who have not yet ventured beyond their own website.
Increase Visibility
Motivate Sponsors
Engage your Members
1. Make a badge.
A small icon which can be put on on members’ online social networking pages (myspace, facebook etc) and also on your corporate sponsors’ websites.Badges can increase visibility in search engines, enhance your sponsors’ reputations in the community, and your members will feel good about showing their support online.
2. Make your events known and remembered.
Use Meetup.org, upcoming.yahoo.com, evite.com and other similar sites to remind members of events and make events known to the community. Social networking sites such as facebook.com can also be used to post events.
3. Tell your story.
Ask those you helped to write, record or videotape how your organization helped them. This easy to insert or link to your site from a free blog site or youtube.com or dogooder.tv.
4. Provide easy ways for your organizations to collaborate.
PBWiki.com and WikiSpaces.com can be used to share documents on projects and FreeConferenceCall.com can be used to host a free call (though it will not be a local number but people could call in from their cell phones usually without incurring long distance charges).
5. Fundraise from Online Social Networks.
The “Causes” application on facebook makes it easy to collect online donations.
6. Newsletters.
ConstantContact.com is a newsletter tool which can help track whether people are reading or clicking on the newsletter articles. It is a paid service but affordable for mid sized non-profits. Newsletters can be used to demonstrate to both sponsors and members that they are a part of something interesting and active.
7. Blog.
Blog about your events and activities on a free blog site and invite your members to comment on the blogs. The difference between blogs and newsletters is that blogs can go more in depth than newsletters normally would and blogs invite comment which help to keep your members engaged.
8. Participate in Discussions.
Participate or start discussions about causes you care about and encourage your members to jump in. This could be on a social networking site such as facebook or other appropriate discussion venue. Look for places with large audiences. Some of your members will find this a fun and fulfilling way to participate. (I mention facebook a lot because it has 30 million plus users per day).
9. Announce ongoing progress.
If you have activities which have frequent updates from one or more teams of participants, use twitter.com to create a space for your organization and give small frequent progress reports for everyone who wants to to follow. This can build excitement and teamwork.
10. Share Photos of Events.
Create an account on Flickr.com for your organization and post pictures of meetings, events and activities. These can be cross linked from facebook, your newsletter, blog and organization’s website. The same applies for video and YouTube but of course video takes more time to edit and select.

So what is a public service announcement (PSA)?

A nonprofit message distributed voluntarily by commercial entities outlets through media outlets in order to expose the audience to a message.

Goal: Send information to the audience so they are informed by passive viewing.


  1. The audience is leaving the broadcast media.
  2. The free time and space in commercial media is shrinking.
  3. The audience is paying less attention to passive commercials and they are by nature fleeting.

A solution would need to:

  1. Find an outlet where the audience is migrating to.
  2. Remove commercial considerations from distribution.
  3. Create an active message which engages audience members for a long period.

Solution to fit these needs:

1. Online Social Networks (OSNs) as distribution channel for interactive PSAs.
The audience across all demographics is moving to OSNs faster than to any other online media. The news here is what friends, associates and colleagues are doing, reading, thinking and writing. Some OSNs have a large percentage of members who spend more time on the OSN than on watching TV.

2. OSNs put distribution decisions in the hands of audience members.

Individual audience members are the sources for the most valued and trusted content on online social networks. They make decisions based for the most part on personal considerations when it comes to public interest messages. The messages most interesting to the audience at a personal level will get the most distribution.

3. Online widgets can contain interactive messages and create long term engagement with the audience.

Online widgets can be placed on the online social networks at no charge and can be very interactive. They also can stay so long as the audience finds them interesting. They can be updated and even take on a life of their own through new media content which the audience itself contributes.

Interactive and long term engagement create much stronger connections between the audience and the PSA.

4. Added Benefit: OSNs have the potential to spread behavioral change

Recent scientific studies have begun to quantify the power of social networks to spread behavior (See the July 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study on obesity spreading through social networks). Online social networks are after “social networks.” So if behavioral changes can spread through social networks, at least online behavioral changes can spread OSNs. And changes in online behavioral will presumably have an impact on offline behavior.

Social networks can act not only as a distributor channel for a message but also as channels to spread behavioral change, which is something traditional media distribution channels only attempt when their commercial interest is involved.

So what is the new definition of this interactive PSA or (iPSA)?

An interactive message distributed virally by individuals through online communities in order for the message to become part of the conversation between audience members and create long term engagement between the message and message provider.

Goal: Change the behavior of the community by changing the conversations within the community.