Do-gooder: social good nerdHow do we get more good done?Realized that relationship and communication between charities and their supporters holds huge potential to improve charity performance
One way is outPeople no longer willing to passively consume products, messagesPeople no longer willing to participate in established systems that dictate their rolesMulti-directionalMore scrutinyLess control of the message for the establishmentMore transparencyMore accountabilityMore of a conversation
Charities are like sub-contractors to their supporters, whether those supporters are individuals or organizations. Funders and volunteers want to create change, charities have the expertise to make it happen. It’s already more like a partnership than most seller-buyer relationships.Tricky bit: Supporters are funders, but not recipients of end product – creates a challenge of accountability.Some argue the true accountability is to the beneficiaries of the serviceSome argue the true accountability is to the fundersI see no conflict, if we can address the challenge of communication this dual accountability createsNot like buying something for yourself, where it’s easy to know if it’s been delivered. More like buying something for someone you don’t know and aren’t connected to. Challenge is how to make sure the funder knows that the thing that’s been funded gets delivered, understands the impact of their actions.Important even if the results aren’t what was expected – even more so, because that’s the best way to learn and adapt strategies.
For charity, social media represents an unbelievable opportunity to address this challengeSocial media represents a way to handle even the complex accountability requirements of charity, and an amazing opportunity to engage an online community – best market research tool ever, best idea-generating tool ever, best crowd sourcing tool everBetter supporter interaction would mean better informed, more engaged supporters. This could mean; supporters who are willing to support unpopular or risky,(but necessary) elements of the work; supporters who provide useful feedback about their experience; supporters who provide new and innovative ideas; supporters who understand the impact of what they’re doing; supporters who are more loyal; higher levels of support; more.Better supporter interaction would also mean supporters would have a more rewarding experience – you would be more meaningfully engaged in the work, better understand the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of the work, know the impact you’re having, be a part of the solution when problems arise. No more ‘donors as ATMs’ and ‘make-work, feel-good volunteer projects’. No more guilt-based campaigns.
More supporter engagement may also enrich and deepen the quality of information flowing between charities and supporters.There’s no lack of info about charity, and much of it is good. But it’s heavy in certain kinds of content and light in others. Right now: Lots of stories, lots of financial data, lots of activity data. Not much outcome info, not much process examination Heavy: info about the need, info about the activities, success stories. Light: info about impact, info about mistakes and course corrections, info about the ‘why’ of strategies.Without these missing pieces, it’s hard to know as a supporter whether good is actually happening, whether the impact we’re in business to create is being created.
DISCUSSIONSo we’re going to take a look at a specific example of charity social media communication in a minute, but first, let’s establish a foundation by talking about what we think about how social media should work.When social media’s done well, what are its characteristics?What are the do’s and don’t’s of good social media?
Case study: Stollery: First 3 items on menu are about donating No link to other social media outlets: could be a good thing? Traffic should be towards, not away from?
Case study: Stollery:Description seems to lead with specific info about cause - good First item is fundraiser – bad? Many ‘like’ but few are engaging – alarming?
Case study: The Stollery: Not a single retweet or reply Followed by 5 times as many as following – bad? None of tweets about impact
They need youProvide positive feedback when you see it done well, and constructive feedback where you see opportunities for improvement. Supporter feedback creates the political will in these organizations to get over the obstacles to change that are inherent in their organizations. Helps them justify the expense, the growing pains.Social stigma against criticizing people with good intentions is not helpful.If something isn’t working for you, it’s likely not working for others either. This is damaging to the charity as it seeks support. If they don’t know, they can’t change.Vote with your feet. Give yourself permission to say no to those whose tactics you don’t agree with, even if they represent good causes: bad organizations with good causes hurt the causes more than they help them.Support organizations that treat you as a partnerThe questions you ask influence the focus of the organization: charities will do the work to come up with the answers to the questions supporters are asking.
Ask meaningful questions – be informed about the issueCreate accountability for the right things: delivering on missionIt’s that challenge of measurability – how do you know that what you’re getting what you paid for, meaning positive social outcomes?Go beyond the usual topics – delve deeper
Valuable and simple tool to make sure you are covering all your basesFinding the right charity to make a difference through is not so much about finding the best one, but rather about finding the best one for you. These 5 questions are a bit like a job interview – you are looking for one whose answers satisfy your requirements for a charitable partner.
Tweet out a link to the Charting Impact QuestionsMention it’s got a lot more detail on the meaning and purpose of each question, without being an onerous readRe-iterate how powerful the active participation of supporters is to making a bigger difference.Thank you!
The Savvy Do-Gooder: Social Media for Social Good
The Savvy Do-gooder:Social Media for SocialGood Nadine Riopel