Musings of a PR Professional


Chapter 1: Introducing Networked Nonprofits

The Internet, and in particular social media, has really changed how nonprofits must function in society in order to create social change. Namely, they must be transparent.

Nonprofit organizations must realize that they are no longer able to close up their walls, not let anyone in, and just pump out information about their cause hoping that people with donate their time and money. That’s just not how it works anymore. Nonprofits today need to loosen the reins on their messages, and trust that free agents will do more good for them than harm (a topic that I will discuss further in the following post).

A recent chapter that I read in my mass communication class talked about social change campaigns and what is and is not usually effective. One main point made was that social change does not happen because a television commercial tells someone they should do something, it happens when people and communities come together and start to influence one another’s behaviors and actions. For example, you wouldn’t stop littering just because of a sign on the side of a highway, but you would if your parents began to scold you for doing so, and if friends began to stop themselves.

The power of social media for nonprofits comes in at this point. They need to engage people on a social and communal level in order to create change, and the Internet is a great place to foster those relationships.

“One constant in life is that human beings want and need to connect with one another in meaningful ways. These connections are made through social networks that are the conduits for the conversations that power social change. The job of nonprofit organizations is to catalyse and manage those conversations.”

-Kanter & Fine, The Networked Nonprofit

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