Raajan Narayanan's Reviews > The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change

The Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter
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Nov 02, 11

bookshelves: business
Read in October, 2011 — I own a copy

The Networked Nonprofit  Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter

An essential social media manual for all Non-Profits

I picked up this book as part of a “recommended reading” list for a social media marketing course. I am no social media enthusiast. Prior to the social media introduction in my course, I would not have even explored the worlds beyond facebook. I have been involved with various non-profit organizations in my days. Prior to this book, I would not have even guessed the power social media can grant a non-profit entity. Thanks to the authors, Kanter and Fine, I stand, now, fairly convinced of the power for the social media for the Non-profit. This is why.

First and foremost, I have an attention span of a six year old. The material has to be crisp, without much technical jargons and I have the need to know everything in the first few pages. This book definitely fits that bill. The authors clearly cast the image of a networked non-profit and reluctance of the non-profit executives to jump on the social media wagon. It is evident from the get go that the book is set out to establish the following:

1) The ideal networked non profit
2) The How’s for becoming this ideal networked Non-profit and
3) What to do once, you have become the Networked Nonprofit outfit.

I particularly found the section on “Busting the Social Media Myths” very interesting and enlightening. As an active volunteer in a community based non-profit organization, I found myself not too far off from social media myths described in this chapter. Myths such as “Social Media isn’t core to our work”, “Our constituents aren’t online”, “Using social media is hard and time consuming” talked very much to my own thought process. With one sentence the authors break this myth(s)

SOCIAL MEDIA POWERS SOCIAL NETWORKS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

For a moment, I felt that a wake-up call has been issued. I quickly realized that, to carry a cause, I need the social media, period. Now, more than ever I wanted to know how and that’s exactly what the rest of the book set out to do.
The How’s of the book sets out introduce and re-introduce the social media, social network in the non-profit context. The formula as I would have thought would be, here’s social media and now, use it. The authors point out, most graciously, that the non-profit would have to be “prepped” adequately prior to engaging in the world of social media. Time and time over, many non-profits have jumped on the social media bandwagon without a viable strategy to keep up with the demands of social media. The authors stress the importance of creating a social culture, especially, within the organization to drive change. For organizations ready to dive in to the social media ocean without a viable social media strategy or organizations who fear entry into the world of social media, the author provides solid, thought provoking guidelines and questionnaires at the end of each chapter. This makes the book informational and instructional at the same time. I am impressed, how the authors are able to weave in real –life case studies from Red Cross and other organizations to establish a convincing social media argument.

The 2nd part of the book is devoted to managing social media. I was particularly interested in the section the authors coined “Crowdsourcing”. As defined by the authors, “Crowd sourcing is a marriage between professionals and volunteers who have the goodwill and passion to work together to benefit an entire community”. When used well, the magnitude of the reach of the crowd is without bounds. As the authors point out, organizations benefit tremendously by enabling more people to participate in more meaningful ways for a positive change. The authors provide insights to how a non-profit organization can be a learning organization while fulfilling its obligations set for in its mission statement.

Overall, I would recommend this book to all interested in harnessing the power of social media for a greater good. That is, to everyone. I am truly convinced that this book will not be just a one-time read. This book will serve as a wonderful textbook for any non-profit organization.
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