Make it Visible

Post by Frank Barry - 1.15.2010 - Follow me on Twitter

Social Media has the incredible ability to put power in the hands of people, unknown businesses, small nonprofits or local universities. Organizations like these (or yours?) don’t need a large advertizing or marketing budget to reach the right people. They (you?) don’t need a staff of fifty people focused on spreading their message. What they need are people who know how to build strong networks on the web. Networks that will support their organization in ways they never imagined.

Make it VisibleCheck out what the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County is doing. Mickey Gomez is creating new ways for her organization to engage online.

Have a look at what the National Association of Dental Plans has been up to. Jeff Hurt is using the social web to build something special.

Study how LIVESTRONG is making an impact. Brooke McMillan is building, nurturing and promoting a powerful network.


Each of these organizations is using social media to make impact, but they’re all making it visible in slightly different ways. The trick is in figuring out how to utilize the web and the social tools available to create the type if impact your looking for.


How can you make what you’re doing visible?

Tell your story, put a face on your organization and connect people

Nonprofits have an incredible opportunity to tell their story through different online mediums. Blogging, Video (YouTube), Pictures (Flickr), Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter), etc…  

It’s important to understand that there are numerous services (i.e. Facebook) and millions of people using these services daily. Your job is to figure out which services make most sense to use and how to tap into the networks of people living in these places. 


What can you do today? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking …

  • Start a blog (or use the one you already have) where you share a weekly story of how you’re making an impact. Make sure to humanize it. Check out some of what 12for12k did on their blog for ideas.

  • Post a monthly video where your staff highlights one of the projects/initiatives you are putting on and how it’s making a difference. Make sure to incorporate the people whose lives you are touching. I know you hear stories like these daily!

  • Show people how you are changing lives through posting pictures to Flickr on a daily basis. Have your staff or volunteers (or supporters in attendance) take pictures at every single activity you put on. Then show those taking pictures how to post them to Flickr with a common tag.

  • Have the people whose lives you are changing start using Facebook or Twitter (if it’s possible). Then tell all your supporters, donors and volunteers who they are. Make this connection so the cause comes that much closer and more personal for everyone involved. EpicChange did a fabulous job in this area. Check out Kids of Tanzania.

  • Introduce your supporters to each other. This one is simple. If you know two people who are supporting your cause or organization are participating on Twitter make an introduction. Network building! LIVESTRONG does a great job of this on their Facebook page.


I’m sure there are numerous other ways to make what your doing visible. What’s happening out there?


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