At Thanksgiving last month, my 92-year-old grandfather and I had a great conversation about Twitter. That’s right, in between catching up and eating, we talked about social media and the latest ways that people are connecting, sharing information and building and strengthening relationships. He knows it’s a topic that I’m interested in – particularly how nonprofits and foundations are innovating and experimenting with social media.
Around the same time, the fine people at the Bulldog Reporter asked if I would write a piece on a recent survey we launched with KRC Research on the value and benefits of social media for nonprofits and foundations. And, well, I thought the only fair place to begin the piece was the conversation I had with my grandfather.
The piece posted this morning. It talks about what we learned in our survey, some social media success stories from the Case Foundation, CARE and Do Something, and what implications the evolving social web has for strategic communications professionals. I hope you’ll check it out in between your end-of-year projects at work and finishing your holiday gift shopping.
With nonprofits and foundations feeling the pressure to be more efficient than ever, audience and stakeholder research has become critical. Nonprofits must be sure they are not only talking to the right people, but have clear, compelling and appropriate ideas when they do.
While research can be a heavy lift (requiring financial resources, staff and time), it frankly doesn’t have to be. We fully embrace the idea that a lot of research is not always better than a modest, targeted research program, especially when there is existing research to build on – but we do believe that some research is better than building a communications strategy without research insights.
Insights from your target audiences and stakeholders ensure that you are communicating the ideas you want to relay, while also making sure you are meeting your audiences where they live and think.
This nexus is critical to having the conversation and engagement you want and need to have – and missing this crossroads literally or figuratively can mean wasted dollars on communications that simply aren’t hitting the mark. No organization (including yours) can afford that. So while research is an investment upfront, it’s a bit like Johnny Appleseed (my daughter just learned about him in Kindergarten) – plant the seed, then reap the fruit.