I’m looking forward to being a speaker this Tuesday (8 December) at the Seminar: Changing ICT – What does it mean for your organisation? put on by the NCVO.  In preparation for my involvement at the seminar I’m participating in the NCVO’s “Ask the Expert” – an opportunity for NCVO members to pose questions and get answers prior to the main event.  I don’t consider myself to be an expert and don’t necessarily think there could be “experts” in a field that changes every day!  But I do love to share my ideas and experience with others and hope this is an opportunity to start many new conversations both with readers here and participants at the seminar.  Here goes!

Some people are beginning to use twitter for adverts…and doing ‘paid tweets’ Is this going against the whole ethos of SM and especially Twitter, when authenticity is the key?” -Claire

I’ll be posting my slides and speaking notes on Tuesday for my session on the topic of “the future of online revenue generation for charities.”  More to come on this question then!  For more:

“I work in a small organisation and have heard a lot about web 2.0 and social media but have not thought it through in relation to my organisation. What are the key things we should think about if we are going to use social media?” -Jenny

To start with, remember that social media isn’t one of your projects or mission areas.  Social media is a tool for you to use to help you achieve your mission.  Including various social media tools in the way you do your work (whether it’s communications, fundraising, outreach, volunteer recruitment or service delivery) comes from strategically identifying the right tools for the right things.  Key questions to ask include: who is your audience? where are they online already and how do they want to interact with you online (is it in the same spaces or different ones, is it conversations or promotion, etc.)?  One you know who you are interacting with, why you want to interact with them, and why they would want to interact with you, choosing the appropriate platforms or tools to do it is much easier.  For more:

“How do you convince technophobes and people who are resistant (or a bit afraid) of the value of social media tools?” -Ellie

I have looked resistance in the face, many times.  When it happens, I always take a deep breath and remember that the resistance isn’t particular to me or to social media.  The resistance for your organization, staff, leadership or board is probably the same that would come if you presented opportunity for any kind of change.  Change is, far too often, scary.  The best thing to do, then, is to show why it isn’t scary but necessary!  If you’ve set up any social media experiments of your own, either representing yourself or the organization, measure your work and the success to share back (how has using those tools increased volunteers, grown your email list, saved you time on promotion, etc.).  If you don’t have any examples to use of your own, look at what others are doing in social media that are in your same sector, geographic location or interest area and use their examples (many organization are public about the work they do in social media, check their blog and see if they share their own case studies).  For more:

“Can you give an example of how a voluntary organization has used Social media effectively to engage with their supporters to generate income for their campaign/cause?” -Claire

There are many different examples out there, ranging from small organization fundraising locally to organizations leveraging the global community for change.  Twestival and Tweetsgiving are relevant and recent with many different people coming together to make them happen.  The difference with using social media for fundraising is that your organization may not even be involved anymore, the way it was offline.  I could create a fundraising page or campaign for your organization, maybe tie it into my running a marathon or my birthday, and would never need to ask your permission, get your information, or even handle the funds!  Social media enables individuals to become your fundraising department, as well as your communications department, etc.  The best tip I can give in this regard is to make sure you put enough information out that people can support you the way they want (don’t get mad that people have the wrong mission statement about your organization, just send them the correct one and say “thanks!” for supporting us; and make sure your real one is prominent to begin with, like on your profiles in social media platforms and so on).  For more:


    About ‘Ask the Expert’

    “Ask the expert” is a new benefit for NCVO Members. They can ask questions to experts in the voluntary sector and to NCVO advisors.

    About NCVO

    NCVO is a highly effective lobbying organisation and represents the views of its members, and the wider voluntary sector to government, the European Union and other bodies. We are also at the leading edge of research into, and analysis of, the voluntary sector.  We campaign on generic issues affecting the voluntary sector, such as the role of the voluntary organisations in public service delivery and the future of local government. Learn more about the NCVO here.

    NCVO Ask the Expert: They asked me!
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