Thursday, November 29, 2007

Social Networking: Is it here to stay?

Should non-profits get involved in social networking? Clearly, I would argue yes. Social networking of one form or another will be around to stay, and non-profits can and should take advantage of it. However, the way in which they participate has to change – it’s no longer just about putting an ad that people see when they drive (or click) by.

It’s about participating in the community, and demonstrating your value. Instead of (or rather, in addition to) taking time to put together a print ad, marketers are going to spend time interacting with potential volunteers or donators on these social networking sites, and designing campaigns to facilitate these interactions.

In addition, it’s important to point out that social networks offer the opportunity to reach highly targeted audiences. For example, there’s a group on Facebook called, "Do Something". Now that seems like an audience that any self-respecting non-profit would want to be in front of. (Yes, OYFP has a group on Facebook. Join us!)

Yes, the social networking field is full of many contenders. Yes, many of them probably will be forced out. But the change in the way you can and will interact with potential consumers is around to stay for a few years at least.

(This post was in reaction to

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Patrick Supports Massachusetts Volunteer Corps

Legislation was signed yesterday by Deval Patrick to start the Commonwealth Corps, a local volunteer group. Sounds similar to Americorps or City Corps, but for all of Massachusetts. It's interesting - these will basically be paid volunteers. They won't get paid a lot, of course, but they will get some benefits and will have travel expenses reimbursed as well. I suppose they'll be helping out other non-profits... much like OYFP does.

I think this is the kind of program voters were expecting from Patrick, rather than the $12,000 curtains for his office or over-use of the state helicopter. The more people are working to help others, the better.

Image from the Boston Globe

November = Homeless Children Month

Yes, there's only three days left in November, but I thought we should all know that November is/was National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, as recognized by our government. There are many months, days, and/or hours designated as special holidays (one of the more useless ones being National Novel Month - I don't think we're really struggling to find people to write books these days), but Homeless Youth certainly are something to be taken seriously.

So. In honor of this month, take a few minutes to think about what it would have been like to be living in a shelter, in a car, or on the street when you were a kid. Or maybe this was you. Now, take some time to call a shelter in the area and volunteer your time, money, or supplies.

Boston Rescue Mission
Pine Street Inn
Rosie's Place - "A solution, not a shelter."
Shelter, Inc.
Springfield Rescue Mission

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Use the web to be socially active

Well, what do you know? People are using the internet to express their views! It's almost as though it's the perfect medium for such a thing. Oh wait, it IS the perfect medium. At least in the USA. (Other countries are big into SMS txt messaging - Burma, for example.)

Anyway. If you're into being socially active, want to use the internet, but aren't sure where to start, read Four Steps to Ease You Into Social Web Activism. It will at least give you an idea of some of the technologies out there.

(Source: The Non-Profit Blog Exchange)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Non-profit: We join the 21st century

You would think that with an executive board that includes young professionals working at some of the top marketing agencies in Boston, national non-profits, and leading computer companies, we would have had a blog a long time ago. Well, when you're running a non-profit in you spare time (that's right - we're all volunteers), you spend most of your time trying to save the children and less time writing on the internet.

However, the time has come for the On Your Feet Project to share what we're doing, what we're thinking about, and most importantly, to open up a conversation with the wide world out there. We're a relatively young group (about 3 years old), and we could use some advice.

So. Share your nugget of wisdom, whether it be related to running a non-profit or not.