Ever since reading the Cluetrain Manefesto back in the 1990s, I’ve known that embracing the Internet as an interactive tool – not an online brochure or a press release distribution system – takes a changed mindset. Same for online volunteering – the key to success is a changed mindset that thinks about volunteers very differently than free labor that comes in, does things no one else wants to do and leaves.
On that note is this excellent blog about “strategic digital communication” – it’s tips are of value for all nonprofits, NGOs, government agencies and other community-focused organization, not just arts organizations.
So if you think you might be ready to re-build your website, stop. Think about digitally engaging your constituents instead. And if you’ve hired a website redesign shop or a technology shop, put them on hold: you need to work with a digital communications firm instead.
Or, if not a digital communications firm – which many of the nonprofits I work with could never possibly afford – start bringing together volunteers and clients and asking them how they use the Internet for fun, for their work, and regarding subjects that are essential to them. And thinking about what activities online outreach should inspire/launch/grow.