It’s been a long non-blogging stretch, which included live music (natch), a bday (piñata & nacho-enhanced), driver’s ed (2nd time’s a charm, right?), domain registration lapse (ack!) & details emerging on what could be the wildest winter ever…
Thankfully, the key sanity check (outside of running/air-drum solo’ing) has been reading. One of the best nerdy reads in a long while has been the Hatcher Group‘s recent report ‘New Media & Social Change: How Nonprofits are Using Web-based Technologies to Reach their Goals.’ Despite the sins of unnecessary capitalization, this is a punchy report worth downloading regardless of whether you or your clients are in the nonprofit sector.
Why is the Hatcher report, which is filled with some good ‘how-tos’ & tip sheets, different than the usual freebie ebooks or ‘top ten’ digg/delicious-bait blog posts? It’s the data peppered throughout the report, which was culled from a relatively recent survey (May 2009). The survey asked 70 key questions to gauge 30 NGOs’ new media interest & experience. Most telling were these statistics confirming NGOs’ attuned state regarding the online world:
- 53% ‘infrequently’ & 30% ‘frequently’ perform blogger outreach (& 57% spend at least 1-2 hours a week doing so)
- 73% frequently monitor blog references to their organization &/or issue
- 60% increased their fanbase, 40% increased web traffic & 20% increased media coverage thanks to Facebook
It’s valuable to stay on top of this sector’s digital communications habits because it’s planting social media seeds in the most fertile ground. This fertility is thanks to two factors – the necessity of very cost-conscious tool-use & a youngish workforce with a seemingly limitless supply of passion for their cause.
About this time last year, I drafted an interview list for a winter interview circuit of New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles & San Francisco. A large percentage of the almost 30 interviewees were working for social change either in-house at non-profits or at agencies dedicated to the nonprofit sector. While almost all of the interviewees were at or near the cutting edge of online tool adoption & seamlessly integrating digital communications into their organization’s overall plan, the Hatcher Report is a valuable sample of an average NGOs’ habits.
To demonstrate the more realistic snapshot & less experimental respondents, check out this survey response about the aims of an organization’s blogger outreach:
- 91% of organizations hoped to reach media
- 83% wanted advocates, legislators &/or staff to take note
- 70% sought the general public’s engagement through this unique digital channel
Perceiving online communications & blogger outreach as primarily a ‘means to an end’ for mainstream media coverage is a somewhat disheartening response from almost all 30 groups the Hatcher Group surveyed. While blogs can break or popularize stories before they are reported in newspapers or on television, the 91% wish to affect MSM left me worrying that blogger outreach wasn’t being executed with the best intentions, & as a consequence, without the most tactful approach.
Am I being completely paranoid? It seems odd that there was a 20% gap between NGOs who considered the ‘general public’ as a separate entity worth speaking with via blogs vs. feeding messages to the masses in a backdoor fashion via blog authors. Regardless of this concern, the report is a great short read & in addition to the data offers short & sweet reminders about best practices in conducting campaigns online.