Can Non Profits Use Social Network Sites To Make A Profit?
There's an old saying, "Rules without Relationship bring Rebellion"
I feel asking money before demonstrating purposeful charity can send mixed messages into the hearts of givers. In short if people give to "what you do," without loving it or having a heart for it, they will usually leave confused asking the question. "Why did I give them my money in the first place?"
In short Social Networks are an idea place to build relationships & show the charity of your cause. It's like when a church volunteers to go feed the homeless, or do missions. They must first build positive relationships with its member's base. By ministering to their needs for spiritual enrichment, fellowship, common believes etc. before asking them to volunteer too.
The same is true with social networking, its all about people connections, and building relationships with like precious faith friends. People join and connect to your (space, site) when they see common grounds for fellowship and promoting what they believe to be of high value too. Social networking for nonprofits puts everyone in the pulpit, giving them a voice to say more then just amen. The promotion of ideas and believes have a two way street effect. In the brick and mortar world of nonprofits (churches) it is mostly a one way communication form. You preach, proclaim, announce, promote your believes and values to the members & public. Looking for the return of souls, increase membership, support of a cause, funding etc. However on social networking sites the value of what you say and produce is judge by all.
The next wonderful thing about the internet is that there are many difference social networking sites (religious and non-religious). Example:
1. HisHolySpace.com - Christian equal of myspace
2. Mychurch.org - Churches & Ministries
3. Godtube.com Christian equal of YouTube.com (free video 30min.)
4. YouTube.com Free Video site
5. Friendsiter.com Community Site
6. Classmate.com Community Site reaching 98 % of USA college campus
7. Facebook.com - community of youth & students
8. Hi5.com – youth from the Islands (Islanders)
9. Myspace.com – little Israel (connection center)
all major, & upcoming ministries and nonprofit are on it.
My point is simple the social network sites have far and wide audiences. Yet they all have one common ground, connecting for the purpose of building relationships with people with common interest. This is the true power of the Internet, it's ability to bring all the "Red Hat" lovers together, all the green house effect people, students, elders, Christian, non-Christians etc.
Can social networks help a non profit? Yes directly and indirectly shared with grace and tact. Some of the measuring tools I use to test the effectiveness of my ministry outreach using social networking sites are feedback, from comments, bulletins, instant messages, chats, tracking counters, friends joining discussion groups, ministry invitation.
The ability to view and measure the quality of a relationship and see it's growth is invaluable. Seeing them move from a drop in friend, to interactive communication (exchanging of ideas) to respect (viewed as a expert). Then learning from the real pro’s (major ministries) in the business. Given opportunity to share your ideas on a forms or internet radio shows, finally invited to come and share at a local church or events is priceless. I am learning the real cash value of the relationships increases as you give more value to building a reputation of being F.A.T. (Faithful, Available & Teachable) to your cause, to your commitments and to your customers. Oh ya, we are in the highest sells business there is, and it’s not “the Lord” nor our beliefs that's for sale, but ourselves and our commitment to stand on what we believe. If you are in the nonprofit business you are the produce like it or not. The bottom line is people are not just buying into who I represent but how I represent Him and myself as well. At the end of the day if I blow it, no one will leave my site mad at God, no just “too through” with me
I am currently using social networks to promote my upcoming book "What's Your Word Level? A 40 Day Devotional Journal. We are still in the relationship building process. I will keep you posted at this StartUp Biz. blog. About the online community networking process, relationships, sales etc. the book is scheduled to be published in Jan. 2009.
I believe as we learn and obey the rules of building quality relationships on social network sites we will enjoy a profitable harmony between our new & soon to be old friends.
In The Flow