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:
- Paper Bound: Board member shows up to meeting and receives a 60 page printed board book that he will never read.
- 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.
- Board Portal: Centralized location for all board communication. Primarily private and individual interaction with content.
- Internal Board ESN: Board portal becomes a two way conversation. Board members interact openly with the content and create their own content as well.
- 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.