The Networked Nonprofit: Social Media Wisdom from the Masters

Allison Fine and Beth Kanter

If you work in the nonprofit space and are anywhere near technology, you HAVE heard of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. Well, now they’ve come together to write an amazing book that you absolutely must read, titled “The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change.”

The book is packed with brilliant concepts from cover to cover: social capital, network weaving, social culture, the ladder of engagement, do what you do best and network the rest and microplanning, just to name a few. But The Networked Nonprofit is not about tactics (though there’s lots of great examples in it). Fine and Kanter take you through the basics and the thought process you need to be in, in order to have your nonprofit successfully enter the social media space and thrive in it.

From listening to sharing, from fundraising to affecting change on- and offline, The Networked Nonprofit looks at social media for nonprofits as part of your multichannel strategy, also taking into account the stories others share about your organization, the way you communicate over email, your web site presence, your Google ads, your media outreach and most definitely your offline presence (face-to-face events).

Being a hound for books that overlap nonprofits and social media, I can tell you The Networked Nonprofit is the best out there today!

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Rework: Book review

Reading “Rework” is a lot like the experience you get from 37Signals (the company behind Basecamp and many other web-based productivity tools, whose founders wrote the book).

37Signals sticks to their philosophy and they don’t care too much if you don’t like what they stand for: they believe in it and stick their product development efforts to it. This is highly commendable: sticking to your guns in the face of criticism (which will always be there) is tough. But it can come across as arrogant at times.

When/if you get past the discomfort some of the controversial positions from Fried and Heinemeier may generate, you start to see why these guys have been so successful at what they do. They have a firm stand against some wide-prevailing practices: workaholism, growth for the sake of growth, meetings (they call them toxic) and letting your customers outgrow you, to name a few.

At face value, many of these propositions may sound outrageous to most, but give yourself a chance to read through “Rework“: you will not only find yourself questioning some of the things you do in your organization… I bet you will find yourself reading it again and circulating it within your team!

Managing Online Forums: A Great Book!

Much needed advice for those who run online communities
As many online forums as there are, sadly there are only very few titles out there that deal with the topic.

Until now, the best one (now out of print) was Design for Community. But Patrick O’Keefe has changed this for good with this amazingly comprehensive title that is packed with great (and fairly timeless) advice about how to start, develop, promote and manage your online community. Two chapters at the end deal with tips on how to keep your online forum interesting and how to monetize it.

Personally, the only downside I found in the book is that it has a very heavy emphasis on forums (phpBB, more specifically), leaving outside some of the aspects specific to social media. However, the knowledge that the author has included in here can be relatively easily ported to help folk wanting to manage social networks or other social applications.

As for me, I am getting a copy of “Managing Online Forums” for each of the Administrators in my communities.