What makes the difference between a successful movement and an ineffective effort?
Why do some nonprofits and volunteer groups change the world, while other fall to obscurity?
What can make the difference between changing the world and doing nothing?
The answer is the same for all three questions: People.
People make the difference. Being able to join a collection of like-minded individuals all pursuing a common goal is something truly magical. The magic that it produces changes the lives of those around you, which changes the lives of those around them and so on.
I am sure that a lot of nonprofit organizations start off with strong convictions regarding altruistic intention. They want to move mountains. But, somehow, the mountains don’t budge and the convictions fade over time. The people who rallied to the cry have disappeared to fight other battles. How can this happen to such noble causes?
So, to more directly make my point, you need to gather the people to be successful in your volunteer efforts.
There is a way to do this differently. Today, the wonderful technology around us lets volunteer groups of all shapes, sizes and geographic locations connect like never before. You can now hold virtual meeting, store important materials that the right people can access when they need it, share stories and experiences and much more easily keep everyone on task.
The technology to do this is a social learning management system or LMS. These learning systems have been around for awhile, but have evolved over the last couple years to provide social tools that are critical for the success of many volunteering efforts – and the prices have dropped incredibly as well. Some LMS providers do not even charge fees per users, which can be very beneficial to the cause.
Using social tools is not a new idea, but is one that needs to continue to grow.
The Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report has some great information showing the influence of social media usage in the day-to-day operations of all types nonprofits around America.
Here are some points of interest from that report:
- 8% have a Facebook page with an average community size of over 8k fans
- Average Facebook and Twitter communities grew by 30% and 81%, respectively
- 73% allocate half of a full time employee to managing social networking activities
- The top 3 factors for success are: strategy, prioritization, dedicated staff
I imagine these numbers have grown to support more usage in the last year. Here is a good infographic highlighting social media usage for nonprofits and volunteer organizations.
There is a lot of great information to take in.
It all comes back to people. Get people involved. Easily gather like-minded individuals. Share important information and experience. Leverage easy to use social learning management systems and similar tools to make it all work.
At Volunteer in America we will continue to provide valuable information for any type of volunteer group to be successful.