Speaker to non-profits: Update your status
Not-for-profit organizations must seize the day on social media and other emerging technologies to remain relevant and attract the best volunteers.
That was a theme of the keynote address at Thursday’s regional Governor’s Conference on Service and Volunteerism at Ivy Tech Community College.
Leverage new technologies, respect volunteers and don’t waste their time with disorganization, speaker Tim Miles told the 80 attendees from social, service and civic agencies.
Miles is known as the “Wizard of Ads,” a blogger and marketing expert.
Websites today are an organization’s first contact with most people, Miles said, and as such need to be treated like a valued employee.
Word of mouth is key to letting people know about a product or an organization, Miles said.
Social media like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are simply word of mouth gone exponential, he said, giving the example of the story posted only this week of an Ohio man with a “radio voice” looking for work. Major networks picked up the story after millions of people watched and shared video about the man online, Miles said.
There have never been more retired Baby Boomers or young people between situations willing to help, Miles said. They are part of a civic generation looking to do their part not through big dreams, but through small actions, he said.
But no matter how good the goal or the message is, volunteers won’t stick around if they don’t have meaningful and organized work to do, Miles said. To capture positive word of mouth in the digital age, organizations should deliver a volunteer experience worth talking about.
The conference was designed to provide connections among non-profits, to share practices and validate the work local groups do, said Isaac Randolph, executive director of the state’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Not-for-profits need to pay attention to their volunteers, he said, because they are not only an important resource but also customers of the organization in that they provide either the good or bad buzz.