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How Not For Profits Can Succeed Online – Part 2 Social Networking

Social Networking has become extremely popular for one primary reason...  People want to connect.  Social networking sites have given people the ability to exchange ideas and information with other like minded individuals.   They can gather in large or small groups and virtually brainstorm, network, share and gain insights.   The question becomes, how do you harness this activity to benefit your organization? Jump in with both feet: When you join a social network, create a profile - but don't just stop there.  Start a group or join other existing groups.   Sites like Facebook have groups - these groups give people who have a common interest a place to enter into discussions, share links, videos and photos and even promote new ideas.  Finding a group of people who would be interested in your cause is a simple matter of searching.  Let's say you are looking for a group of people who are interested in helping victims of domestic violence, do a search on domestic violence and check out the groups that come up.  Try these searches:  Museums, Animal Safety, Diabetes.  If a group doesn't exist that suits your needs... start one! Do not discount MySpace.  Check out the the MySpace Impact Awards (http://www.myspace.com/impactawards).  The Impact Rewards honor organizations who work to create a positive difference in the world.  It may not win you donation dollars, but it will go a long way to creating trust and recognition in the online community.  The only thing you are required to do is set up a MySpace page for your organization and share your message. Interact with the people you connect with on a regular basis.  Set aside a fixed amount on time on a daily or weekly basis to log in, check out [...]

How Not For Profits Can Succeed Online – Part 1

I recently participated on a panel for the Tech Valley Not For Profit Council on how to effectively use Web 2.0 in Not For Profit marketing efforts.  By the time I and the 2 other panalists were finished, the majority of the attendees' heads were spinning with all the information they just received.  It takes a while to absorb something that is so vastly different from what you are used to... so I figured that putting it in plain English might be of some help. Not For Profit companies have to Create awareness for their product / service Obtain donors and supporters for their cause Reach the people they want to help With marketing having to take place on 3 fronts simultaneously, how does a Not for Profit succeed online? First and foremost - you have to tell your story.  As I have stated a hundred times, the most successful business owners are the ones who are passionate about what they are doing.   So passionate that they never get sick of talking about their business, their goals, the successes and the lessons learned along the way.  The majority of people who are involved in a Not For Profit, are there because they believe in the cause and are passionate about what they are doing.   The problem is, they get so caught up in the "daily must-do's" that they forget to share their passion and the real reason they are part of the organization.  The stories Not For Profits have to share have the potential to be the most compelling of all.  Most Not For Profits exist to serve a segment of the population who are suffering from disease, environment or a particular set of circumstances.  [...]