The New Platform That Could Revolutionize The Way Non-profits Do Meetings

Camaraderie is one word often linked to associations and other non-profits. Being in an association means connecting with those who share your passion and working together with those people to strengthen a cause or an industry. It’s not uncommon for members to meet life-long friends or mentors through an organization.

Non-profit events are the place to go to find friendship and togetherness. Some of the best conversation and biggest brainstorms can come when members connect face-to-face. So why not have more meetings, events, conferences, etc.?

This is easier said than done. Events are expensive and take a lot of time and resources to coordinate, especially for non-profits with finite staff members and budget space.

That’s why Meetup is such a great platforms. Meetup is a site that bills itself as “neighbours getting together to learn something, do something, share something.” Basically, it is a platform where you can search for a group of like-minded individuals in your community who meet up, network and talk about their passion. And it has the potential to revolutionize the way non-profits serve their community.

Here are four ways Meetup can help raise your organization up and give your community an opportunity to thrive.

#1. Encourages Board Members to Get Involved

Your Board of Directors may be spread out across the province, state or country. Although they may want to help the organization and its community, sometimes they are limited to monthly or quarterly meetings because of geography.

One of the best features of Meetup is that a meeting can take place anywhere and anyone can plan one. The members of your Board can take advantage of this to coordinate a meeting with your non-profit’s community wherever they are. It’s a great way for the Board members to get involved, get to know the community and put their own mark on the organization.

#2. Empowers Local Chapters/Leaders

Members of national organizations likely share the same problem as Board members; they are spread far afield and chances to connect with others in the community are few and far between. Local chapters and leaders in the community may want to build up the organization, but lack the resources, time and know-how to do so.

Meetup gives these individuals an opportunity to organize a gathering of local members, share stories, take the pulse of the community, gain feedback and increase services. Engaging the local community is important to ensuring the larger organization enjoys a dedicated member-base that will keep coming back again and again. Meetup is a great way to start achieving this goal.

#3. Promotes Your Organization

Organizing a meetup, big or small, can bring more awareness to your non-profit and grow its community. Meetup is one more platform that gets the word out about your organization. Its search function makes it easy for those with an interest in the cause or industry to find a meeting you have planned.

Meetups are also a chance for current members of your organization’s community to show a friend or colleague what your non-profit has to offer. It’s a perfect place to connect with people that share the same interest as you and get to know the benefits of joining an organization full-time without formalities, a hard sell or a rigid schedule.

#4. Gives Members Some Freedom

The conference or event scene isn’t for everyone. Don’t get us wrong, events are amazing. They raise awareness, provide networking and learning opportunities and connect organizations with those in the industry. But sometimes people won’t attend because of limited financial resources, geography or a feeling that the event lacks relevancy for them.

Meetup can change all this by putting event planning in the hands of members. They can meet up, network and find solutions to shared problems in the setting they want, at a time they want. That can mean meeting for lunch every week to hear a professional speaker talk to the group or it can mean a monthly pub night. Organizing a meetup or helping members organize a meetup gives your organization the ability to connect with different demographics in an efficient and cost-effective way because it gives people the choice to network the way they want to network.

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There’s no telling what the future of event planning has in store, especially because each and every organization is different. Meetup offers a great option for non-profits searching for ways to connect its members with each other and the organization itself. Don’t forget to promote any meetups on your other social media platforms and follow up using your various social media channels.

Let us know what you think about Meetup and how you can see your organization using the site. And, as always, stay social!

Facebook Is 10: Why the Social Network is Still Near the Top of the Class

In social media circles, Facebook just became a senior citizen.

Facebook turned 10-years-old last Tuesday, a monumental milestone for the social media giant. Facebook has paved the way for a new wave of networking platforms and has changed the way companies, organizations and individuals connect to others in its decade-long reign as one of the internet’s titans.

Amidst all of Facebook’s past triumphs are recent questions about the site. Many are wondering if Facebook is in a permanent decline and the social network is fending off attack after attack on its future.

We still think Facebook can be a great tool for non-profit organizations to connect with the community, build relationships and grow. So in honor of Facebook’s 10th birthday, we’re bringing you 10 ways the platform can benefit organizations.

1. Photo Albums

Images can inspire many emotions and effectively send important messages. Both of these are beneficial to non-profits who want to draw new connections and serve current ones. Facebook gives a lot of flexibility when it comes to posting photos, allowing users to upload whole albums, tag people, caption the photo (including hashtags), share them and set the location. Numerous studies also show that Facebook posts generate the most engagement and click-through rate.

2. Contests

Contests can be an interesting and engaging way to connect with members, donors, volunteers and the community and increase awareness. Facebook is a great platform to launch social media contests, especially with its new rules, instated last year, that make competitions easier, cheaper and more effective.

3. Mobile Capability

Mobile usage has exploded in the last couple years and it only keeps growing. More than 50 per cent of mobile users use their mobile device as their primary internet source. Appealing to mobile users is, or should be, a big consideration for organizations.

Facebook has a strong presence on mobile with an easy-to-use app. The social network also develops and releases new apps often. This makes the social experience even easier and more engaging for users and more important for organizations looking to build connections.

4. Videos

Videos are a great way to tell stories and the popularity of Vine, Instagram and YouTube underline how important they are to social networking.

Facebook allows organizations to upload videos to their page, capitalizing on the effectiveness of the medium. Combined with the ease with which connections can comment and share on posts, Facebook’s video capabilities measure up quite well against those of other platforms.

5. “Donate Now” Button

Facebook introduced its “Donate Now” button almost two months ago, making it easier for people to give to non-profits and charities. Online giving increased by over 20 per cent in the last year and it continues to trend upward. The “Donate Now” Button helps organizations capitalize on this trend, makes giving easier, and strengthens relationships between non-profits and the community.

6. Event Planning

Getting the word out and coordinating the details of an event can be difficult. That is why Facebook’s event feature is so effective. It enables organizations to plan gatherings and convey information quickly and simply. It also allows attendees to spread the word themselves, helping initiatives grow and thrive. Last, but not least, Facebook’s event feature is unique among social media platforms. No such thing exists on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

7. Hashtags

Hashtags help organizations appeal to a wider audience and gather great content to share to members and their other connections. While Facebook hashtags took a little while longer to catch on than their Twitter cousins, they are seeing wider acceptance in recent months. Facebook hashtags also keep them level with other social networks that also use hashtags.

8. Networking

Having a space to network with others is the big reason for people to be on social media. Giving people that space will draw people to your organization. Facebook is one of the best platforms to achieve this. Conversations on your organization’s page can be vibrant and sharing the contributions of others can be done in various, engaging ways. At the end of the day, your organization isn’t the only one who will be gaining new friends on Facebook, so will your members.

9. Turning Negative to Positive

Sooner or later, your organization is going to receive some negative feedback. Whether it’s blunt or thinly veiled, criticism is a way of life on social media. The real key is knowing how to deal with negative criticism. Facebook provides a great space to turn that negative into a positive. Other platforms are limited in the amount of characters or the medium you can use and this often limits an organization’s response. Facebook has very few limits and thus provides a forum to turn that frown upside down.

10. Promote Other Platforms

Many non-profits have a multi-faceted approach to social media, using several platforms to serve the community or members. Facebook is a great way to let others know about these other platforms. Promoting your blog, Twitter feed or an infographic you pin on Pinterest is just a click away on Facebook.

Facebook may be getting up there in years, but the social network hasn’t lost its appeal or its effectiveness for non-profits. Happy belated birthday Facebook!

What do you like about Facebook? What non-profits use the platform best? Let us know in the comments!