Using online interpersonal tools to engage your agency's stakeholders

What interpersonal tools is your agency using to engage people?

By Rose Reinert
Guest blogger
rose1For several months, I have been excited to share a weekly post with you all. I have been going chapter by chapter through Lon Safko’s book, The Social Media Bible and applying his thoughts to the non-profit sector in a blog on Monday mornings. We have reached chapter 21 — “Let the Conversation Begin (Interpersonal)” of Lon Safko’s book The Social Media Bible. This is the last chapter in part 1 of the book, and it is the final chapter in my guest blogging series.
Our entire journey over the last five months has focused on building relationships and deepening relationships with donors, supporters, volunteers and the public. This chapter offers a great recap of this concept with a focus on “interpersonal.”
Interpersonal refers to all the different ways in the social media ecosphere lets us communicate and interact. Sakfo believes that choosing an interpersonal tool starts with the following two questions:

  1. What do you want to communicate?
  2. With whom do you want to communicate it?

Safko points out a great benefit to utilizing some of these tools, beyond the benefit of building on the relationship. Often, many of these tools can help reduce costs in long-distance telephone calls and travel expenses.  I will highlight a few of these today.
Video Conferencing
gotomeetingThere is no doubt that as the recession hit many organizations began to cut costs. One of the first areas cut was staff development (e.g. conferences, travel expenses, etc). These expenditured became more of a luxury as donations declined and funding became more uncertain.
However, the recession opened new doors. For example, video conferencing and things like webinars have became increasingly popular. These tools allow for face-to-face engagement, while not incurring travel costs.
Sharing Applications
Other popular ways to increase efficiency are applications like GoToMeeting and Doodle.
GoToMeeting is a web conferencing service that allows up to 15 users to engage in an online meeting. This includes sharing the screen, webcams and documents. This site is secure with passwords, and if a larger audience needs to be reached, there is a GoToWebinar option.
doodleDoodle is one of my favorites. As an Executive Director I would constantly have to convene meetings between groups of people. It was more than frustrating to go back and forth in e-mails trying to figure out a time when people could meet.
Doodle allows you to send out a meeting request with date/time options. The person simply enters their name, clicks what works for them and voilà! You can choose the best option and increase participation by placing your meeting on a day that works best for everyone.
These are just a few of the many great tools that can increase efficiency in today’s busy world.
I am interested to learn more about your experiences with these tools, or others. Please share examples of other interactive social media and internet-based tools that you use at your non-profit organization in the comment box below.
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