I recently gave a presentation about social media to a national non-profit organization. In preparation for the presentation I did my usualy research about the organizations efforts to engage donors. I looked at their web site, talked with a manager from one of the chapters and reviewed their annual statement with the mission, goals and objectives.
Upon arriving at their conference I walked around and just listened to the conversations. Many people were talking about the bad economy, how hard it was to raise money and to recruit new members to their cause.
I went to the room where I was giving the presentation and found all their printed marketing material laid out and began reading through it. High gloss material with some data and messages about their focus and value to the community. One of the booklets they were handing out was a 30 page document talking about “serving the community” and all the related initiatives they were supporting. A very expensive static piece of material they were using to propagate their message (singular).
The Immediate Assessment
My review of their web site found the typical static content with no social technologies integrated into the site. They didn’t have a blog but they did have a group on Linkedin and Facebook. After reviewing both groups I found limited “members” and even less content within these groups. What was there for content was nothing more than press releases. Yet they thought they were using “social media”. In terms of the web site traffic, it was flat and trending downward.
The web site content was much the same as the materials I found at their event. So to summarize, the organization was feeling the economic downturn and was generally concerned about how to keep their members engaged and create value to bring in new members. Besides all this they were also laying people off and looking for ways to reduce expense.
The Immediate Solutions
I gave my presentation about social media and added the following commentaries:
- Kill the static web site and create conversations with the marketplace
- Stop printing expensive brochures with old message, engage with your membership and save the money
- Instead of asking for donations seek ways in which you can bring more value to your local membership. How about giving which will in turn will give back
- Stop thinking scarcity and think abundantly. Otherwise you’ll miss the innovative ways to create more value with less than you ever have in the past
- Connect your membership with each other and create “conversational currency“. The more currency your create for your members the more they’ll have to give back.
My presentation and the subsequent remarks caused a stir with the audience. Some felt that I didn’t understand their business while others were excited to learn more. Those who wanted to learn more asked “what do we do next?”. To which I responded ” Set up a seminar for your membership to come and learn what social media can do for their business. I’ll be happy to conduct the session for free but if you want to charge for it and keep the money that is your call. “ The subsequent response from those that got it was “How big and audience can you handle” To which I responded “As many as will listen and engage”.
I left with a commitment to do three seminars for three different chapters. The conversations created currency and I established some great relationships. Get it?
What say you?