Saving the World: One Twitter Follower at a Time

Posted on September 28, 2011 by

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Not For Profits (NFPs) very rarely have large budgets. They are more likely to be composed of people who want to do something good for others, their community, or the world. Because of this, resources can often be limited or hard to come by. This creates challenges that demand creative solutions and, thankfully, we live in an era with the perfect tools to solve this:

Social Media, and the whole wide Internet.

Platforms like Twitter, or Facebook, allow NFPs to not only communicate quickly and effectively, but to share the pleasant results of their work. The joy of a successful food drive, or bath day, can inspire a lasting conversation and more pervasive change.

We quickly think of the most popular platforms when it comes to bringing our favorite causes on the web – Twitter, WordPress, Flikr, and the like. There is nothing wrong with that, but this week I would like to talk a little about a platform I don’t hear about that often and I believe is an underused resource: Patch.com.

Patch.com is a division of Aol and the most recent attempt at “hyper-local” journalism. Here, people from a small town in Connecticut  – or DC, North Carolina, etc. – will log in to read the latest news about their little corner of the world and save the bigger events for CNN. They learn about Farmer’s Markets, Holiday Events and, yes, how to help out in their community. (Here’s the website for my home town, for reference).

As one of my favorite bloggers, Ryan Holiday, wrote: “Resource poor, community organizers are forced to rely on existing infrastructure. In other words, you need to intimately know the terrain and makeup of the community you’re working with.”

Nowhere is this opportunity more prevalent than on Patch. You can learn all about a community’s personality, terrain, and how to produce the greatest change all without sending a single Tweet.

So, for this week’s #SMchat, we’ll be exploring how NFPs can leverage Internet resources to affect the most powerful change. Here are the questions we’ll be asking:

Q1: How do NFPs use Social Media to achieve their goals?

Q2: What is the most important resource for NFPs? Money? Manpower? Goodwill?

Q3: What are the best ways to use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs to find that resource? (Whatever it may be).

Q4: How can “hyperlocal” platforms like Patch.com contribute to this goal? Or is local, and niche, not as important?

Q5: What underused platforms – or people, techniques, etc. – do you think go unmentioned?

We will be discussing these questions on Wednesday September 28th at 1pm EST. You can sign in via Tweet Chat or just follow the Hashtag, #SMchat.

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Posted in: Non Profits