How charities need to update their status

Earlier this week I gave a talk to about forty Action Aid staff members on social media, subtitled “does it mean we have to change our jobs?”

Thanks to Joanna Juber – the charity’s Digital Engagement Manager – for inviting me to speak on a range of topics I will be blogging about over the coming months. Fundamentally, how technological innovation has always necessitated institutional innovation and how charities need to learn to be agile (the technology won’t slow to their pace).

Here’s the link to the presentation on slideshare for those of you picking this up in your feed reader, with the caveat that one or two slides make less sense without the narrative.

On my way back to Somerset on the train, I read that E. L. Doctorow once said writing a novel is like “driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

It struck me that this is much like the journey we’re all making with social media. Charities need to learn to be agile enough to get into driver’s seat, and brave enough to take the wheel and move out of second gear. It’s going to be an interesting ride. Baggsy be the co-driver.

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11 Responses to How charities need to update their status

  1. Alex says:

    Great, great, great – it’s always good to know you’re pointing your resources in the right direction. Conversation is the key, and we’re starting to give our supporters individual voices to hear while at the same time getting to know them. Win-win.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Presentation looks great and also some really good points made in it too, will be interesting to see how they move forward with integrating social media. The ‘six things every charity must do to stay relevant in the 21st century’ summary near the end of the slides sums up what organisations need to do perfectly!

  3. Thanks, Alex & Laura. Much appreciated.

    Everybody, check out what the Dogs Trust is doing online. One of the best.

  4. Lovely stuff Steve. And it’s not just charities that need to hear this. Special thanks for the E. L. Doctorow quote. I’ve finally started work on my Now-to-New book (the book is itself a N2N project and you can see it unfold on my blog) and these words are very encouraging.

  5. Ron Mader says:

    Exellent work, Steve. Thinking ahead, could you provide a section where you define or better yet explore the words ‘charity’ and ‘buzzdirector’

  6. Jack – glad you liked the quote. I was reading “bird by bird” by Anne Lamott. Her insight into “writing and life” really resonated with me.

    Ron – as ever, you nudge me in just the right spot. Personally, I’m not keen on the word ‘charity’. It suggests a one-way, overbearing relationship. It has a legal basis, of course. I think there is an argument for re-claiming / redefining some words for the 21st century – like ‘paternalism’ (i.e. I don’t think we can deny some of the power relationships that are in place), and even ‘charity’, to better capture the reality of our ‘connectedness’.

    What do *you* think?

    As far as ‘buzz director’ goes… I do need to unpick what I mean a little more (a *lot* more). You’ll recall this interview, and this post, and this one. Maybe a section on this blog, or a wiki, pulling the idea together[?] Nudge me again soon.


  7. Louise Brown says:

    Great presentation, I was asked to deliver something similar recently so it’s nice to advance my thinking on the subject.

  8. Pingback: Laura’s Notebook | Technology for Non-profit Organisations, Social Media and Accessible Website Design » Blog Archive » What happens when an organisation chooses not to engage?

  9. Pingback: SoSaidThe.Organization » Blog Archive » A fantastic presentation on charities and social web

  10. Pingback: starting a charity

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