We have moved from a world in which entities from big business to non-profits informed people of things, about their mission or product, or giving individuals reasons they should provide support or buy into it. A world where they engaged in what was essentially a monologue. In the non-profit world messages were tied to dedicated months like December, historically when good will towards man prevails, and perhaps translated into donations.
Today monologue is no longer the right term —the correct term is that everything in the world is a dialogue, facilitated by social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube. Everyone is empowered to be a positive part of the message or a critic of it, everyone has a voice. It is no longer seasonal, nor is it tied to things as drawn out as a month (cancer awareness month for instance). It is an instantaneous moment to moment dialogue, and acutely dynamic.
The Oral Cancer Foundation got this, embraced the idea early, not completely out of insight, but out of necessity driven by lack of human and financial resources. So, when the GreatNonprofits opportunity came around, we were already geared up to recognize the wonderful opportunity of immediate dialogue, and capitalize on it. For being small and micro-funded, we were already heavily engaged in social networking, we were web-based forums savvy players, and understood the Google information access opportunity well and were capitalizing on that, using all these tools to accomplish our mission.
Many traditional non-profits have been less adaptive to this new world order that can topple governments, and they still live in a print ad, “our message” world, missing the human dialogue component of reaching out to others, and the viral cascade of ideas that it makes possible. A caveat is that once you embrace this — and you’d better if you are going to be part of what is happening in the world today — you need to be ready to spend a good portion of your time listening and fulfilling, rather than speaking, asking, and dictating using the old brand development strategies.
Some organizations think they already know what is best and right. I guarantee you that in a world of immediate smart phone driven dialogue, that is a misconception. Your constituents will tell you if you are on target, on mission, and worthy of their support immediately. The GreatNonprofits model for determining if an organization is worthy of support, or if your mission accomplishment mechanisms are effective, is a game changer.
The preceding is a guest blog post by Lindsay Nichols, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at America’s Charities, the leader in workplace giving and philanthropy. As a member of the organization’s senior leadership team, Lindsay guides and oversees the strategy and execution of all marketing and communications efforts with a major emphasis on strategy and tactics that support increased growth for the organization. Lindsay has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy, NonProfit Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio, Dallas Morning News, and more.