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 http://mediabiz.blogs.cnnmoney.cnn.com/2007/11/27/web-bubble-20-for-social-networks/?section=money_technology)