Book Review

Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits

By on Monday, December 12, 2011

This practical how-to guide by consultant Heather Mansfield, offers helpful advice for nonprofit organizations seeking to maximize their online presence for engagement and support. Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits is organized into three sections with chapters.

Part 1 – Web 1.0: The Static Web

  • Websites, e-newsletters, and “donate now” campaigns

Part 2 – Web 2.0: The Social Web

  • Getting started with social media
  • Facebook and Facebook apps
  • Twitter and Twitter apps
  • YouTube and FlickR
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogging

Part 3 – Web 3.0: The Mobile Web

  • Social media and the mobile web
  • Mobile websites
  • Group text messaging and text-to-give technology
  • Smartphone apps
  • What’s next?
  • Your nonprofit tech checklist

Mansfield points out in the introduction, that inspite of all of the hype, web 1.0, which consists of nonprofit organization websites, e-newsletters, donation sites and advocacy campaigns – remain the highest return on investment for dollars raised. Even with all of the hype about social media today – the lesson is clear – pay attention to your nonprofit website and how you are raising money using online tools. Pay attention to the donors and supporters you already know now.

For nonprofits who are struggling, this book offers a lot of help and encouragement. Mansfield encourages nonprofits to “hang on” until they hit the 5,000 mark for an online community, noting that this appears to be when online communities begin to grow exponentially. Each chapter features a list of links to nonprofit examples and a list of key terms that you can google for more information.

While at times, the book verges into the very basic, it bills itself as a primer to the mechanics of using social media. Those are who are more skilled in social media will find themselves skimming over some sections, but then delving into others where perhaps they need more support. Mansfield encourages nonprofits to be goal-oriented and to focus on returns generated by investing time in social media.

One of the most useful things Mansfield does in the book, is estimate the number of hours organizations seeking to maximize their social media presence, spend working in the different social media spheres. She estimates that 15 hours weekly could be be spent on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. An additional 5 hours for FlickR, 5 hours for LinkedIn,  10 hours for blogging, 5-10 hours weekly for niche networks (Ning, Change,org, Care2, etc.) and 5-10 hours weekly for peer-to-peer fundraising networks (Razoo, Crowdrise, etc) are also estimated. While these hourly estimates may be sobering for nonprofit workers who are already time-strapped and under-resourced, they do spell out the reality.

It is not a case of “if you build it they will come.” You have to actively build and engage with the people you want to reach online. And you can’t do that in absentia. It takes time and thought. When your boss comes up with the brilliant idea of building a presence for your nonprofit in every social media platform, and tacks it onto a job description – show him or her these time estimates.Then budget your time accordingly.

At 250+ pages, Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits, is not a short read. But it’s great to see a book on social media targeting the nonprofit community and positively encouraging organizations to use social media tools for good.  The book is well-organized, and it’s easy to pick it up and locate information. The areas where the book could use greater support, are in audience targeting and ROI measurement for social media. I look forward to reading what Mansfield puts out next.

Social Media for Social Good:
A How-To Guide for Nonprofits

Everyone wants to know what you think.

Pin It on Pinterest