A few weeks ago, Chuck Reyman of The Colorado Health Foundation sent me a provocative book. The Networked Nonprofit is a handbook of sorts for those of us trying to optimize and leverage our use of social media. Authors Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine argue that how an organization harnesses the power of social media will distinguish the great nonprofits from all the others. It’s an essential part of long-term strategy. And it’s certainly got my attention.
As a digital immigrant, I need to learn the ways of social media. I grew up without an internet. (As a kid, I even walked to the television to change the channel!) What’s heartening is that this book insists that I can learn how to think strategically and practically about social media. Social media does not sit apart from the other strategic initiatives. It can be fully incorporated to help CHI realize its long-term goals.
I have learned that social media tools essential for nonprofits fall into three categories:
- Conversation starters (blogs and Twitter)
- Collaboration tools (Google groups and communities)
- Network builders (Facebook and Twitter)
With the launch of CHI’s new website, you will see firsthand how we are migrating to a networked approach to our work, research and communications. Why? Because in order to be relevant to today’s health and health policy debates, CHI needs to:
- Initiate conversation through our publications, not just release our research.
- Cultivate relationships with our state’s leading experts, not just rely on our own expertise.
- Build relationships with key stakeholders such as policymakers and other leading health organizations, not just provide the data.
The changes to our website highlight an overall change in our communications strategy. And social media is integral to our new direction. My thanks to Chuck and his team for providing such a clear discussion of how we can chart a successful, networked course.