I’m one of those “old” pros who just a few short years ago thought social media, and blogs were only for young people who wanted to socialize with their friends. For most of my career, I have been a nonprofit professional, working with large organizations as fundraising counsel for their major gift, capital and endowment campaigns. One day, while visiting my then 35 year old daughter and my son in law, I was told about the marketing value of blogs for professionals. I had been involved with CharityChannel.com and had participated on their list-serves but had not been exposed to blogs or social media. I was curious and asked them to give me more information. After about ½ hour of instruction, I was set up with a Google Blog. (www.nfpconsulting.blogspot.com)
Over the course of my career I had, from time to time, written short professional articles and decided to post some of them on the blog and with CharityChannel. I even created a few new postings over the ensuing 2-3 months. My son-in-law suggested that I use social media to “drive business to my blog” which was also linked to my business web site.
I went to Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter and set up accounts which I primarily used to notify “friends and colleagues” when I posted a new item on my blog. Over time I learned about the value of viral marketing. It did not take long before I began to get comments about my articles and requests for their use with other organizations. Within a few months, I received requests from a University to use one of the articles in their newsletter as well as from several national nonprofit associations and organizations.
I also posted several of my articles from the blog on CharityChannel which resulted in great feedback and requests to reprint the articles. Through CharityChannel, I established a relationship with its Founder and CEO, Steve Nill. He was very encouraging and graciously posted more of my articles on their web site.
It was not only a boost to my career to be published, but it was also an ego trip. I began to establish a national reputation as a thought leader in my profession. I set up a Google alert for my name and low and behold, many of the articles I had written came up on sites of other organizations which had reprinted my articles as resources for their own constituencies.
Soon after, Steve Nill and I had discussions about doing a book that would include the best articles from CharityChannel. He asked if I would put it together. CharityChannel had just set up CharityChannel Press and had already published its first books. I told him I was not familiar with putting a book together or working with a publisher, nor did I think I had the time that would be necessary. He said he might be able to get me a co-editor who had a lot of book editing experience. I told him I would consider it. He introduced me by phone to Linda Lysakowski. After talking to her, I was convinced that she had the professional knowledge, and editing skills, that the book was a great idea and working with her would help tremendously.
I was in Florida. She was in Las Vegas. We became email and phone buddies, spending lots of time thinking through what we wanted to do and how we would do it. We spent 2 years on the project. During that time we only had one face to face meeting. Contributors were selected from around the globe (Canada, Great Britain, Australia and the United States). With the help and professional generosity of many of our colleagues, we presented “You and Your Nonprofit” to CharityChannel Press for publication.
It came out in June of 2011 and has received a lot of attention not only within the nonprofit sector (professional, academic and volunteer community) but also for the two of us and the 40 plus contributing authors.
My desire to share my knowledge with others, as others have for me throughout my career, gave me encouragement and recognition. Most recently I made a presentation, to the faculty, students and community partners at the college from which I graduated. (Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work). That was another special time for me to be able to talk about the content in the book and engage with those attending on other topics related to future trends within the nonprofit sector.
Who would have guessed that a ½ hour of instruction, the use of social media and a blog would lead to the publication of a significant book on nonprofit management, leadership and fundraising.
Think about how similar activities could catapult your professional career…………