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The Real Reason Virtual Communities Matter to Nonprofits

Written by Joshua Paul | on May 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Why Online Communities Matter Beyond Organizational Goals

Not-for-profit organizations feel pressure. They feel pressure from their board. They feel pressure from their partners. They feel pressure from their staff. And they feel pressure from their mission. One of the newest and most intense pressures they feel is the pressure to use social media and social networks effectively. This pressure is so strong partly due to the speed in which ideas travel online and the number of people who get their information from online sources.

With all of the pressure coming from inside and outside the organization, nonprofits have to constantly refocus on the people they serve and validate each move against their mission. A nonprofit executive may go to conferences and hear about social media and the use of private social networks to drive engagement, advocacy, and fundraising. They take heat from their young staff members who want to turn the organization into a social media mecca in a month. Their board of directors wants to know when the organization is going to launch an online community. And nonprofit technology vendors recount how you need to begin your implementation today in order to stay relevant.

Looking Beyond Organizational Goals

While online communities are proven to increase growth, revenue, and engagement, it is important for not-for-profits to look beyond the pressure of organizational goals and recognize the human side of the features and functionality they are providing to their constituents.

  • People rely on connecting with one another
  • People rely on an active and engaged online community
  • People rely on being able to find and produce passionate and insightful content
  • People rely on getting notifications of information that is relevant to them
  • People rely on being able to collaborate to build great ideas upon one another

The tweets in this post from the Diabetes Online Community demonstrate the human side on online communities to help nonprofits stay focused on why online communities matter.

Why are Virtual Communities Important to Nonprofits?

 Nine low-cost member engagement strategies for associations.

Topics: Member Communities, Nonprofits and Charities

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