Four Lessons Learned: Social Media and NonProfits Meme

Four Lessons Learned: Social Media and NonProfits Meme

Beth Kanter has tagged me with the meme Four Lessons Learned: Social Media and Nonprofits which was really cool because as Katya points out “Beth is THE maestro on nonprofits and social media (and she could probably accompany Yo-Yo Ma on flute)”. MMMMmmmm shame a minor matter of me being an educator, not involved with non-profit, makes the meme just that bit harder — but not impossible. Fortunately I network with nonprofit bloggers/twitterers which helps.

For Beth’s meme I have to consider:

  • What if I could start all my social media and nonprofits work over from scratch?
  • What would I do differently?
  • What 4 lessons have I learned that will stick with me for 2008?

The most important lesson I learnt in 2007 was that when you are struck, if you have invested the time and effort into building strong social networks, one of your networks will help you out. After a few hours of trying to write this post I realised that help was urgently needed and luckily my twitter network came to the rescue. Thanks for rescuing me Corrie Bergeron, VeletSarah, Catherine Eibner and especially Judy O’Connell (whose words of wisdom were “Beth Kanter will have all the answers you could possibly want I think”)

Yes, I cheated on my meme, because it is a collective effort as opposed to my own personal lessons, but Social Media is not about working harder but working more effectively; using the power of social networking to connect, collaborate and innovate at a greater rate than working on your own.

So here is four five lessons from us:

#1. Use what works

Most of us don’t have the budget to be on the bleeding edge; focus on using social media that you know will work e.g. blog to advise of news/events and provide feedback on recent events or information, wikis for community resources.

#2. Have a *reason* to use it – it’s just a tool

Think very carefully about what you are trying to achieve and then choose the right tool for the job. Don’t just use a tool for the sake of it.

#3. Be fearless in learning

Really investigate the options out there – there are many free or very low cost ways to introduce social media into the business but take the time to learn about them first!

The biggest mistake I ever made was using blogging with others before I had a good understanding of what blogging was about myself. Always start by using a new Web 2.0 tool for your own personal learning. Explore your options; lurk a while and get a feel for the site you’re in, what its community is like etc. As you become effective with using the tool you will soon understand how you can use it for your work and are more likely to be successfully with implementing it.

#4. (which should really be #1) keep your mission in mind. Why are you here?

Check out Deborah’s post on the importance of the mission!

#5. Work Smarter not harder!

With so many new Web 2.0 tools appearing on a daily basis, you can waste a lot of time testing new tools. Instead sit back and listen to noises from your social networks to work out which ones are worth investigating. If enough people whose opinion I value are promoting a particular tool I take notice.


Any poor explanations of the lessons are entirely my fault, and are no reflection of the input of my network. They worked extremely hard, thanks everyone, under difficult circumstances (me not being able to express myself).

What advice would you give to either nonprofits or other educators – what are 4 lessons, relating to social media, that you have learned that will stick with you for 2008?

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5 thoughts on “Four Lessons Learned: Social Media and NonProfits Meme

  1. Thanks for another great post, Sue. I think your point #5 is particularly sage advice. It is impossible to keep up, and any effort to do so soon becomes overwhelming.

  2. Thanks Paul. Actually point #5 was going to be my first point but struggling to write the post I changed the order. Nowadays I base my immersion in tools on whether enough people stay using the tool. That way I don’t get overwhelmed. Also if I am not getting a tool e.g. like Flickr it makes me hang in because there must be a valid reason why I should take the time to get it.

  3. Excellent example of using your network! And Twitter .. just love it.

    I’d be terrified to pick up my flute and play with Yo Yo Ma!

    However, I think you’re the maestro! Your blog is awesome and I love how you share and collaborate in learning.

  4. Hi Sue
    I like your advice about ‘working smarter’. The constant appearance of the new tools is certainly overwhelming. Mind you, keeping up with everyone’s opinion is also somewhat overwhelming! I see you have over 50 blogs listed and that’s only some of them!! 🙂

  5. Thanks Beth for your nice words about my blog — I really appreciate it. Actually I think it was rather clever cheating on the meme and involving my network.

    Hi Patricia – definitely working smarter is the way. Well the new applications get discussed in my twitter network. I have learnt mostly to let the really early adopters road test them and then start to take notice if lots of really good comments start coming through; and make sure they don’t sweep me up in their frenzy of excitement. Regarding blogs yes – my subscription is over 200 and am very efficient at speed reading; if a topic is really important it tends to be repeated several times so eventually it will click.

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