Posts Tagged ‘fundraising’

Integrating Social Media in Non-Profits Panel: Tom Watson

September 19, 2009

Tom Watson is the Deputy Dean and Reader in Communications in The Media School at Bournemouth University in England. Before entering full-time academic life in 2003, Watson’s career covered journalism and public relations in Australia, the UK and internationally. He ran a successful public relations consultancy for 18 years and was chair of the UK’s Public Relations Consultants Association from 2000 to 2002. Tom presented at the conference via Skype.

Tom Watson presented information about the nature of nonprofits and how to use social media successfully. Watson views social media as playing a supportive role instead of a primary role in public relations. According to Watson, nonprofits have the potential to influence policy and maintain long-term goals, but the ability to win media coverage is extremely important.

Watson’s case studies found that donors were in support of using commercial activity for fundraising as long as the projects are aligned with an organization’s values. Acceptable items must represent the cause. Social media can be used for fundraising as long as it’s supplemental to traditional methods and not a replacement.

Watson presented information about three nonprofits Oxfam, World Vision and Trinity Center. Each of these organizations is integrating their Web site with their traditional media relations. World Vision has a Facebook fan page that has 24,000 fans, but there are 17 fan pages and 500 groups not affiliated with World Vision. World Vision can control the message on their own fan page.

The positive aspect of community pages and groups set up by fans is support from the community. The problem is the spread of incorrect information. Maintaining your own brand on social media is important for controlling that message and propelling it into the online communities.

The main point of social media in Watson’s eyes is the resulting word-of-mouth. Measurement should be based on mixing quantitative research with content analysis. It’s important about what’s being said, not just how many people are talking. Old metrics need to be applied to the new situation. Discover which blogs and Web sites are the creators of opinions and who are the followers. The positive word-of-mouth is the hopefully final outcome.