Don’t Dump – Learn to Listen

Post by Frank Barry - 12.29.2008 - Follow me on Twitter

The key to being successful with Social Media & some tools to get you started

Remember the saying “You have two (2) ears and one (1) mouth?"

“Dumping” on people is not what you want to be known for in the world of Social Media (see definition on Wikipedia) or any other world for that matter. It doesn’t benefit you or the people you're dumping on. Maybe it’s better understood like this – We shouldn’t be yelling at others (at least not in normal situations). Think of how you responded the last time someone yelled at you … I doubt you appreciated it.

Most people love to talk (or hear themselves speak) including organizations, but we all know listening is just as important. I’ll even argue that listening is more important than talking. This is true in the ‘real’ world, so what makes the online world any different?

What’s it all mean? … We need to learn the art of listening online.

You need to learn to listen if you want to get closer to your supporters, connect to more people and spread awareness. (Beth Kanter has some good advice here)

In the early days of the web, listening was not very easy to do, but in the web 2.0 & social media (SM) days, listening has become fairly simple. There’s no doubt that it takes some learning, practice and time to become good at it, but at the end of the day it’s well worth the investment!

 

Let’s look at a quick case study: 

 

 

10 tools to help you get started:

You will likely have to spend time researching, playing and educating your self on the below tools, but this should give you a good set of resources.

 

1. Google reader

A simple RSS aggregator tool. All you have to do is find blogs/sites that are somehow related to your industry and subscribe to them. It’s easy to do in Google reader and a lot of sites even have a link to ‘subscribe’ to their RSS feed in some easily seen location. Using an RSS aggregator makes it much simpler to stay up to date on the new information you need to know in your world.

2. Google alerts

Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms. Google offers alerts with results from News, Websites, Blogs, Video and Groups.

3. Yahoo pipes

Yahoo pipes social media firehose

4. Technorati

5. Google Blog Search

6. Aid RSS

See which of your blog posts are generating the most interest and which are more popular overall

7. http://tweetgrid.com/

Monitor what is going on in the Twitter world

8. Twitter Search

Search and subscribe via RSS

9. Tweetbeep

Search and subscribe via email

10. Dashboards (You'll need to spend some time configuring these for optimal use)

iGoogle

NetVibes

 

One thing we should all remember while we’re learning to listen online …

Be an “active listener” - Comment on the blogs where you are being talked to/about or generally have something to do with what your organization is all about. Talking to the folks who are out there talking to or about you will help you learn, retain and make your listening that much better. As you learn to listen you will also learn where your supporters hang out. Once you know this information go hang with them, listen to them and participate in the conversations they are having.

 

At the end of the day what does this all mean …

People are people and want to be engaged by other people, not by ‘the organization.' The social web makes this so much easier to do these days. Your supporters also want to feel heard. Again, the social web makes this easier and faster than ever before. Being a better listener equips you to respond, engage and support the people who support you.

 

Other useful resources:

 

How has listening helped your organization? We’d love to hear your story.

 

If you liked this please share it on Delicious, Stumbleupon or Digg!


Only 3 Days Left: SXSW Interactive Scholarship Program for Nonprofits

Using Causes on Facebook to Change the World with Matthew Mahan

Geoff Livingston talks Decentralized Grass Roots Fundraising in a Digital World

Claire Williams Diaz talks Hope140, T.W.E.E.T. and her Passion to Change the World

If you could Ask One Question what would it be?

Building Personal Relationships with Thousands at a Time

Birthing a Curriculum for Building a Community

What’s Missing from Your Ecosystem?

Does Suggested Content Capture Your Imagination?

NTC 2011 is Upon Us!

Asking... And Then Listening

Is Society Doomed if We Don’t Meet the UN MDGs?

Enter Blackbaud TV’s INSPIRE Contest for a Chance to Win an iPad

5 Things I’d Do if I Started Today

Announcing the Winners of Blackbaud’s INSPIRE Contests!

Do You do Mobile?

Social Media ROI and More at the Women Who Tech TeleSummit

I Have a Favor to Ask of You

Accountability is Crucial - 4 Tips for Nonprofits

Win a Free Pass to Blackbaud's Conference for Nonprofits

Ask Amounts: Strategic or Arbitrary?

5 Steps to Addressing Sensitive Conversations in Social Media

If you build it they will come, IF…

To Know Your CMS is to Love Your CMS…Right?

BlackbaudTV is on the Air

10 Things I've Learned Over 2,000 Tweets

HOW DO I … Promote my Video Through Email?

3 Simple Tips for Turning Good Web Pages into Great Ones

Nonprofit Giving on the Rise [Online and Offline!]

Your Organization in Eight Words or Less – Go!

License and Registration, Please

Reach Out or Round Up: Which Social Networking Strategy Should Your Organization Pursue?

Social Media Strategy: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Is Facebook Right for your Nonprofit's Community?

5 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content

Content Inventory: Never Fun, Always Needed

Go Beyond the Typical To Reach Your Base

Continuing the Conversation with Custom Confirmations

A Guide to Facebook Social Plugins for Nonprofits

Get More Twitter Followers Today [Ethically]

Twitter Hits 15 Billion

FIRST

Increasing Website Traffic with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

7 Tips for Successful Online Fundraising

Video Interview with Andre Blackman of Pulse + Signal

10 Volunteering Sites to Help You Do Some Good

OPEN CALL: Do Nonprofits Make Films? We Say Yes!

Stacey Monk talks Epic Change, Tweetsgiving and more …

When In Doubt, Hit Something!

American Idol’s Help Me Give Back Program Rocks Team Fundraising

Chris Brogan Talks Nonprofits and Trust Agents

Chris Noble on Check in for Charity, Pepsi Refresh and Social Media for Nonprofits

10 Steps to Building a Successful Social Media Strategy

Measuring Matters

Video Rules!

Do You Know Your Supporters?

Heading to NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference? Don’t miss these sessions!

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 3 – Adding Photos

Video Interview: NetSquared with Amy Sample Ward

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 2 – Configuring the Homepage

Video Interview: Facebook for Nonprofits by Randi Zuckerberg

SXSW Do-gooding, Inspirations and Nonprofit Takeaways

Spotlight on We Can End This with Scott Henderson

Turn Your Success into New Opportunities!

What to Watch For at SXSW 2010 - The Nonprofit Edition

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 1 – The Background Info

Blackbaud Announces March Web Seminars for Nonprofits

Learning is Everything!

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 0 – The prelude

Online Giving and Rapid Response Trends

Why Would I Use Social Media?

Independent Fundraising Event Trends

Connecting Advocacy to Fundraising: Free Nonprofit Webinar

It’s Kind to Give In Kind

Nothing But Net - Aid for Haiti Gets Webby

Make it Visible

Unlocking the Power of Online Forms in Sphere- Part I

Support Disaster Relief in Haiti

Getting Started with Twitter

Give your 2010 Strategy a Jumpstart with these Free Nonprofit Webinars – Starting Tomorrow!

The Power of One

Email Communication in 2010

The Science Behind the Art - Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS - Part II

Foursquare: 8 Ideas for Nonprofits

Using Social Media to Improve Your Nonprofit's Efforts

How to Choose a Website Vendor- The Solution

2009 in Review

How to Choose a Website Vendor- The Partnership

Use Your Year End Giving as a Starting Point

The Science Behind the Art - Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS - Part 1

The Science Behind the Art - Nonprofit Website Case Studies

Your Network Matters: Fatcyclist Raises Over 135K in 8 Days

Black December?

Obama, Then and Now: Lessons Learned in Online Advocacy and Fundraising (Part I)

Are Nonprofits Ready to Play Foursquare?

A Facebook Success Story: Charleston Animal Society

NetWits Know-How Event Fundraising Webinar Series

#Tweetsgiving Rocks

Watch for Roadblocks: The Road to More Successful Online Fundraising

13 Twitter Search Examples for Nonprofits

50 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits

10 Ways to Make Your Website Fundraising Friendly

10 Tips for Online Challenge Event Fundraising

Social Media Strategy: A Small Nonprofit's Experience

7 Webby Sessions Not to Miss at BBCon

2009 State of the Not-For-Profit Industry UK Survey Results

How to Leverage Your Newsletter Subscriber List to Solicit Online Donations

Cause Marketing and Social Media go Hand in Hand

How Independent Schools Can Embrace Online and Offline Worlds

Creating a Social Networking Strategy (Part 1)

Jumpstart Year-End Giving with eCards

NTEN Webinar - The State of Online Fundraising

Branding Your Nonprofit: Part 2 of 2

What is Google Search Doing for You?

Generation Thumb

Social Media Strategy: National Association of Dental Plans

4 Internet Competencies You Need for a Career in Nonprofit

Turning "Brochureware" into a Fun and Interactive Website

Help Inspire Your Fundraisers!

16 Starter Tips for Nonprofit Blogging

Dive into the Flickr Pool!

Supporting Independent Event Fundraisers Using Online Tools - LIVESTRONG Day 2009

Want More Constituents on Your Website? Don’t Annoy Them! Part 2

How “Intelligent” is Your Nonprofit?

Using the Social Web to Make Local Impact

Mixing Traditional Media with Social Media

New England Province of Jesuits Wins Award for Faith-Based Standard of Excellence

Index of National Fundraising Performance- Q2 2009

11 Quick Tips to Enhance Your Facebook Fan Page

The Answer to Nearly Every Online Fundraising Question Is...

How Blogging and Tweets Generate Support for a Family

Measuring Success Online- Is This Internet Thing Worth the Effort?

Nonprofits and Social Media: Seth Godin, Beth Kanter and The Chronicle of Philanthropy All Chime In

Inside a Website Redesign: Plan Canada

Want More Constituents on Your Website? Don’t Annoy Them!

Twitter 101 for Nonprofits

Branding Your Nonprofit: Part 1 of 2

Are you Ready for the Next Facebook?

What is Google Doing for You?

6 Characteristics of a Nonprofit Trust Agent

(INSERT POST TITLE HERE)

What Not to Do on a Fundraising Call

Tips to Strengthen Your Email Campaigns

Listening Dashboard via Email?

On-site and Online Fundraising Best Practices

The Power of a Thank You

Abundant Options & Opting In

Why Twitter Matters

5 Questions Nonprofits Should Ask Before Sending an Email

Help Your Nonprofit Listen Like Starbucks and Dell

5 Mistakes Nonprofit Websites Make

Peer to Peer Fundraising- Painting a Better Picture with Video

Networking at a Grassroots Level

Thank You for Your Permission

Sign Up for NetWits Summer Camp!

A Challenging Economy = More Donations

Have a Contest to Increase Web Traffic

I’m Listening, Now What? 5 Tips to Make Your Listening Worth It

Are Twitter and Facebook Important for Event Fundraising?

Start a Movement!

Set up Your Social Media Listening Dashboard in 30 Minutes or Less

An eCard Experience

Sink or Swim? Nonprofits in 2010

Social Media Strategy: ChildFund International

How to Boost Event Fundraising with Facebook

The Web 2.0 Rummage Sale!

Summer Festivals: Where Music & Philanthropy Collide

Can Social Media Help Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Efforts?

Design for Good: 4 (More) Nonprofit Design Principles - Part 2 of 2

A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility: Part II

Payment Processing- You Raised the Dollars, Keep Your Cents

Nonprofit Blogging: Goals, Strategy and Tactics to Crush it

Recurring Gifts: Are You Missing Out on Easy Money?

Members Only!

We Need Facebook (?)

The Healthcare Industry is Stuck – 5 Strategies to Overcome and Resources to Assist

4 Tips to Keep Your Recurring Gifts Recurring

Social Media Strategy: LIVESTRONG and the Summer of Social Good

Social Media Strategy: United Methodist Church and 10THOUSANDDOORS

Design for Good: 4 Nonprofit Design Principles - Part 1 of 2

Social Media Strategy: 12for12k Challenge with Danny Brown

Tangible Love

A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility

Social Media Strategy: Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

5 Email Sins to Avoid

Are Your Alumni Bored with You?

How One Multi-Chapter Organization is Succeeding with Virtual Accounts

6 Ways to Build Your Email Subscriber List through Social Media

Power to Your Peeps! Why Real-time Fundraising with Twitter Works

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due...

4 Facebook Tips for Nonprofit Success – See What Others are Doing

Reach Your Audience Where Your Audience Already Is!

Is Twitter Important for Thon Participants?

Mastering "The Google"

What's Really Going on with Events this Season?

Podcasting, Podcasting, Podcasting

Social Media Strategy: Athletes for a Cure

Does Your Website Further Your Mission?

Is Mobile Fundraising the Next Big Thing?

Help a Nonprofit This Mother's Day

4 Keys to Building a Successful Nonprofit Web Site

To Tweet or Not to Tweet is No Longer the Question

Expanded Functions in Sphere Connect API

Are Your Recipients Tired? Look No Further Than List Fatigue: Part II

15 Clay Shirky Quotes That Blew My Mind at NTC

Facebook Launches New API

Facebook to Open a World of Possibilities

Stewardship Isn’t Just a Thank You Letter

Connect Usage Goes BOOM!

4 Ways to Jump Into ‘Fundraising 2.0’

A Good Fundraising Appeal- By My Standards

Design for Good: The Hidden Potential of Footers

Website Omnipotence

When Social Networking Worlds Collide– The Facebook-Extended Personal Fundraising Page

2009 Target User Forum- Day 2

YouTube Video, $10,000 Dollars and Your Nonprofit

The Social Media Nonprofit Event Planner

Facebook & “Old People*”

Are Your Recipients Tired? Look No Further Than List Fatigue.

Don’t Fall Behind, Fundraising is Moving On!

SXSW Recap

Things I liked from SXSW Interactive

Five Things I Saw at SXSW

2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis

Why should you get your event participants to send more emails?

To Moderate or Not to Moderate? That is the Question.

Skittles and Your Nonprofit

Takeaways from the Run Walk Ride Conference

Taking Five Website Staples to the Next Level

Assigned Affinity

Don’t Dump – Learn to Listen

Twitter: Time Waster or Valuable Tool?

Using Twitter for the First Time

Bigfoot Sighting

RSS: Best thing since sliced bread

One Life is Enough!

Get free updates of the the blog articles sent to your inbox by entering your email address:

Make sure to check out our Social Media for Nonprofits resources section or browse by topic ...

Popular Posts

Recent Posts


Nonprofit Tech Featured Blog