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Process and Ideas for Book

29 June 2009
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I’m looking forward to designing a trusted source of best practices and inspiration for non-profit communication and fundraising teams. For many small- to mid-sized organizations, social media is a scary and overwhelming new realm because there are so many sites touting “here’s how its done.’ The ‘wild west’ feel spooks decision makers, and lessens their ability to capture the potential of marketing and community building tools like Twitter, or even Facebook and Flickr.

In our research, I would like to initially ask a sample of non-Twitter users what questions they have about using this tool and social media in general. helped organize the Washington State Non-Profit Conference this spring, and the burning questions at the social media seminar were: ‘What do we say?’; ‘What’s the benefit?’; and ‘What are the safety implications?’ I believe the book will have the greatest value if we answer the questions non-users struggle with the most.

Once interviewing current Twitter users begins, I’d like to focus on successful campus to increase fundraising, event attendance and outreach (new members/volunteers etc..).

I’d like to speak to Twittering organizations about some of the ideas put forth by the “95 Theses.” Specifically:

12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone. How has social media impacted your organization, for ‘good’ or ‘bad’? What lessons or insights have you gained from the market?

15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court. How are you tackling the creation of a ‘new voice’ or ‘another voice’ for various constituents. Who do you find is best suited to craft the Twitter posts? Interns? Communication Dept? President/Artistic Director?

21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor. How do you ‘get a sense of humor’ when your social issues are urgent and that sense of urgency historically has driven your mission and fundraising?

22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view. How has humility been achieved with the organization in order to engage your constituents?

44. Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore. What are your policies about Twittering about the day-to-day workings of your organization? What are those concerns?

90. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we’ve been seeing. Do you find this true?

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