Social Media | PEAK Insight Journal
Issue 3

Social Media

“Social media isn’t going anywhere,” says commenter Gina Dotson, “so we may as well learn how to use it.”

That alone could be the theme of this issue of GMNsight: Advancing Grantmaking. Just a few years ago, social media was a new invention; now, it’s the way of the world and, increasingly, the way of the world of philanthropy. But what does it mean for grantmaking?

First and foremost, grantmakers must embrace social media as another tool in their arsenal or risk falling behind the practices of nonprofits and grantseekers. Funders must also come to terms with answers to questions about whether, why, and how to integrate social media into their existing practices or—more likely—overhaul their practices to be more effective with the addition of social media.

In this issue of GMNsight: Advancing Grantmaking we have included several perspectives on why and how to use social media to advance the work of philanthropy. We also asked some social media experts for their tips on how to get started and where to go first in the landscape that’s changing every day.

Beyond Selfies & #GrumpyCat

Beyond Selfies & #GrumpyCat

Using Social Media for Personal and Organizational Success When asked what three things organizations need more of to really make an impact on their work, the response is often: time, talent, and treasure. Even in our own lives, this ubiquitous trinity is what we crave; we want more time, sharper skills (in ourselves and our colleagues), and more money. So how can social media help us—as individuals and organizations—better achieve all three? Time We’re all busy. In fact, it’s probably the number one complaint-brag we all hear and, unlike many other resources, time is finite. We cannot make more of
Time to Go Social

Time to Go Social

The Importance of Social Networking to Grantmaking When I decided to apply for the position of Grants Manager and Social Media Coordinator at The Burton D. Morgan Foundation last year, I had to ask my 15-year-old daughter to give me a brief Twitter tutorial. While I was quite comfortable with Facebook, I didn’t know a retweet from a hashtag. Quite honestly, I found it to be very foreign and, well, intimidating. I still didn’t quite understand everything after my first training session, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Now, I can tweet with the best of them
How Social Media Is Transforming Philanthropy

How Social Media Is Transforming Philanthropy

  Philanthropy: It’s a word that conjures images of grand, old family foundations, gala benefits, and PBS underwriters. It’s so mired in tradition and upright duty that it is all but synonymous with a wood-paneled boardroom. But thanks in large part to the advent and proliferation of social media, today’s philanthropic organizations are connecting with their donors and the public in ways that are anything but old-fashioned. While traditional approaches such as direct mail, phone calls and walkathons are still relevant, social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are now even more invaluable tools. Simply put, “no one can
7 Habits of Successful Social Media for Grantmakers

7 Habits of Successful Social Media for Grantmakers

Social media is a powerful tool in leading and creating social change. Think about the Occupy Wall Street efforts, the Arab Spring protests, and Hurricane Sandy reports: social media played a critical role in getting the word out and served as a central organizing tool for mobilizing people. Against that backdrop, more and more grantmakers, concerned with impact, are looking to social media as an opportunity to communicate, learn, and listen to their stakeholders, grantees, and communities. Glasspockets, a website created by the Foundation Center and focused on transparency in philanthropy, has documented the activities of more than 650 foundations,
The Allure of Social Media: Influence and Engagement

The Allure of Social Media: Influence and Engagement

In 2009, the blog “Philanthropy 411” identified 90 foundations with a Twitter presence. Fast forward to 2013, where a Twitter search reveals hundreds of foundations that tweet. The early adopters have been joined by many peer organizations, with a large number of philanthropic organizations absent. Social networking has a much deeper role than simply spreading news and creating shareable content. If a foundation wants to nurture trust, transparency, relationship building, and credibility, then what prevents them from using a social network? How might your particular foundation serve its audience best? Questions like this are some of the first to ask
Advancing Social Media Measurement for Foundations

Advancing Social Media Measurement for Foundations

In April 2013, I was invited to participate in a meeting organized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called Advancing Social Media Measurement for Foundations, where I presented on the State of Nonprofit Social Media Measurement. The participants were a cross-disciplinary group and included people who work at different foundations in the areas of evaluation, communication, social media, and programs as well as people who work for nonprofits and as consultants who work in evaluation, social media, network analysis, data scientists, and others. We had two working sessions where we focused on defining outcomes, strategies, key performance metrics, and measurement