Beyond the Boardroom – Nonprofit Boards and Social Media

Small Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (7 of 10)In developing these series of blog posts on nonprofit board engagement and ESN technology (see post one, two, and three), I of course turned to Beth Kanter. Beth blogs: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, Beth writes, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, speaks and consults. If there ever was a guru on nonprofits and social media, Beth would be her.

I’ve been thinking about how a nonprofit board could use an internal ESN to drive engagement. I searched Beth’s blog, and as of yet, have not found anything there on the topic. What I did find challenged me to think beyond internal use, to how nonprofit boards could use social media to “govern out loud”. Imagine live tweeting a board meeting, posting a strategic plan over social media to crowdsource feedback, utilizing social networks to recruit board members, or connecting with like minded peers over social media.

If you want to utilize ESN or social media to drive board engagement. First consider where your board is at: are they a paper bound board or social media power users? I think my ideas presented in this blog series identifies the various places a board might find itself on the social media continuum:

  1. Paper Bound: Board member shows up to meeting and receives a 60 page printed board book that he will never read.
  2. Google Forms: Simple tool to ask board members to provide feedback on content prior to a board meeting. Responses can be seen by all board members.
  3. Board Portal: Centralized location for all board communication. Primarily private and individual interaction with content.
  4. Internal Board ESN: Board portal becomes a two way conversation. Board members interact openly with the content and create their own content as well.
  5. Board on Social Media: Board members “govern out loud” over social media.

If your board is at #1, it’s not likely they will be able to jump to #5. But setting a goal to move towards #3 might be a great first step.


One thought on “Beyond the Boardroom – Nonprofit Boards and Social Media

  1. In you series you touch on one of the things that has intrigued me (as we thin-the-walls of the classroom by doing some work outside of it): There seems to be a real advantage of having layers of privacy when thinking about ESNs and social media spaces.

    So for example: In your suggestion about how BoardEffects might add some new collaboration functionality (great ideas), I see an opportunity for board members to just get more used to thinking out loud and sharing in a relatively more private space. I do think that builds muscle…gets people used to the social space. The leap, then, to going fully public is a little less daunting. Still big – but at least there has been some scaffolding of skills.

    I also think that there is real value – even for people comfortable with transparency – to build in multiple layers of privacy. As much as I think that I am consistent and authentic in all my identities and roles – in face-to-face class, in our private ESN, out on Twitter – I know I am really not creating exactly the same “presence.” I am very conscious of what might work well in each layer.

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