4:05 PM Tuesday June 16, 2009
by Alexandra Samuel
Online community and social media are hot areas for business these days, as companies recognize the Internet’s potential to deepen customer relationships, share knowledge and strengthen teams. In the nonprofit sector, relationships have always been the key currency: the relationships with the members, donors and supporters that NGOs depend on for volunteer labor, financial support and advocacy muscle.
Because nonprofits are so deeply invested in the relationship business, and because they often have not just a notional but a structural accountability to their members, many NGOs were early adopters of online community tools. NGO-run online communities and social media presences offered nonprofits a new way of stoking and harnessing their members’ loyalty and passion; and in their many successes, businesses can find key lessons for using social media to enhance customer relationships, too: