Social Media & Grantmaking Part I: What, How, Why
For the past month or so I’ve noticed an uptick on the subject of social media. Specifically, how grantmakers can use social media to enhance their work and make them more effective grantmakers.
So I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts on social media to explore the what, how and why of it all.
Let’s be honest, social media is a big topic. And before I get into the theoretical “why,” that is “why” grantmakers should consider using these tools, it’s probably best to just start with looking at “what” tools out there and getting a sense of “how” to use them.
Here’s what I’m planning to focus on:
- Listening: If you’re nervous about jumping into the social media waters, listening can be a way to dip your toes in. Grantmakers can use social media to listen [read learn] what others are saying about their organization online and keeping tabs on conversations about the issue areas their foundation focuses on. This post will focus on setting up social media tools like Google Alerts, RSS feeds, Google Reader and following conversations on Twitter to monitor when your foundation is mentioned online, to efficiently keep tabs on philanthropic conversations both on blogs and on Twitter.
- Sharing: What I mean by this is that grantmakers can use social media to share information. Think of the emails that you forward to colleagues and cohorts. You’re passing along information that you think they will find useful. Social media allows us to do the same thing, but in different formats. This post will focus on the different tools that allow you to share information online. This can mean blogging, tweeting, digging, etc.
- Engaging & Connecting: Think of engaging as having a conversation. It can mean starting up a conversation or simply contributing your own thoughts on a subject. And think of connecting as reaching out to others (donors, community leaders, grantees or colleagues) to deepen relationships. This post will focus on examples of how grantmakers are engaging using social media.
- Why do any of it?: This post will concentrate on the “why” part, on the conversations grantmakers and social media gurus are already having about why grantmakers should consider using these tools.
It’s a lot, I know. But I also know a lot of our members are all over the spectrum when it comes to social media.
At our recent Corporate Philanthropy Institute, the social media session began with a question/activity. Participants were asked to move around the room and if they felt comfortable using lots of social media stand near the right wall, left wall if unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable with social media. Most of the participants were standing in the middle of the room. They had heard of most of the social media tools, but had lots of questions on how to use them/set them up.
So we’ll just start with these blog posts and see how things evolve from there.
To see all the posts in this series, simply type “social media series” into the search box located upper right of this web page.