Trainings, virtual meetings, advocacy!
By Rose Reinert
So, in the first 13 chapters of Lon Safko’s book — The Social Media Bible — he establishes that social media is about so much more than just Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Safko continues expanding our understanding in chapter 14 when he writes about webinars and online radio.
Of course, webinars are seminars and trainings conducted over the internet; whereas, online radio is an audio program (or music) transmitted over the internet.
One of the pillars of a good board development / board governance plan is a training program. Unfortunately, this is a lot easier said than done.
When I was an executive director, I tried really hard to get board members to attend conferences. I brought trainers to town, and I even tried to integrate small training nuggets into our board meetings. The reality is that board volunteers are busy people and breaking away is always difficult.
Thanks to the magic of social media (and specifically webinars and online radio), non-profit professionals now have additional tools in their toolbox to engage board volunteers and other stakeholder groups.
At my previous agency, their national office made tremendous investments in webinars (aka distance learning). The following are just a few of the training titles I saw them offering:
- Creating a Committee Work Plan
- Holiday Mailings
- Implementing a Resource Development Plan
- Managing Donor Relationships: Using a Donor Database
- Board Development 101
- How to Create a Board Development Plan
If you really wanted, there is nothing stopping you from designing your own trainings and using webinar services to facilitate those distance learning events.
In addition to trainings, I also see some agencies use tools like GoToMeeting and Adobe Connect combined with conference call technology to host virtual meetings.
In my experience, there are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to webinars:
- Participants have many distractions from the home and office (e.g. email, phone calls, interruptions), and it is easy to lose your audience if your presentation isn’t highly interactive with lots of questions, polls and surveys. Ask questions of participants in advance of the webinar and answer them during the webinar.
- Distance learning is not the same as in-person trainings and meetings. Keep these sessions short and sweet (e.g. 30 to 45 minutes).
- Participants need to be reminded to show up because (for whatever reason) these virtual events are easier to not show up for compared to real-time events.
If you are looking for FREE webinars or pre-recorded webinars to use with your board members and fundraising volunteers, check out some of these resources:
Many people have discovered Slacker radio, but online radio isn’t just about streaming music while you workout.
Many decades ago, radio was a mainstay in our grandparent’s living rooms (before the advent of television). Once television squeezed radios out of the picture, many of us just listened in our cars as we drove from place-to-place.
Online radio has liberated radio from our cars and enables music and talk shows to be heard on our work and home computers. This, of course, opens up lots of possibilities for non-profit organizations.
The most obvious possibility was already cover by Erik Anderson on October 21, 2013 right here on the DonorDreams blog in a post titled “Have you discovered non-profit radio yet?“. In that post, Erik introduced us to the Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
If you haven’t checked out Tony’s online radio show about the non-profit sector yet, it is definitely worth it.
Of course, your non-profit organization can start its own online radio station. Why? Because it is another opportunity to get your message out there. It is marketing. It is prospect cultivation. It is donor stewardship. It can even be something you integrate into your agency’s programming with clients.
If you want to learn more, I suggest you go pick-up a copy of Lon Safko’s book — The Social Media Bible.
The Houston Chronicle also published an online article with a number of excellent links relevant to this topic. Click here to check it out.
How is your agency using webinars and online radio? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below.