Social Media Not for Profit Conference, Melbourne, 2012

Australians on Compassion from TED Prize on Vimeo.

Today, I had the pleasure of presenting at the Social Media for Not for Profits conference, which was kindly organised by Informa and while I was there, I also got to hear some great presentations from other speakers who talked about how Social Media has been used successfully in their organisations.

I’ve always felt that social media is an important channel for Not for Profits, as these organisations are trying to make positive changes in people’s lives and social media is a ripe environment for both rallying support for a good cause, and reaching out to people who need help.

The topic of my presentation was on Driving Action through Social Media. I talked through examples of how social media had been used to rally people to action around a particular cause, with examples ranging from the Libya revelation and the London Riots, to how Rage Against the Machine made it to Christmas No. 1 in the UK in 2009.

I also recounted the Social@Ogilvy Charter for Compassion case study, a campaign that aimed to unite world religions through the one thing that connects them all: Compassion.

The Charter for Compassion is the result of Karen Armstrong’s 2008 TED Prize. The aim of the activity was to get people talking about compassion and affirming the charter. We inspired key influential Australians to start this conversation about compassion by inviting them to take part in the campaign, resulting in the following video which was used to trigger further discussion and drive people to affirm the charter.

When listening to the other speakers, it was really interesting hearing about how Not for Profits use social media in a ways that are beneficial to their organisation. Here are a couple of key points I noted during the talks:

-     Take a deep breath and take risks: Elisabeth Tuckey from Headspace made a good point about the importance of talking risks. Don’t shy away from potentially controversial subjects if the topic is relevant and your audience is talking about it anyway. Get involved, but mitigate risk by focusing on your key messaging.

-    Plan for the future: The Salvation Army’s John Herring talked about the importance for this when looking at budget splits and the short term ROI of social media.

-    Be aware of timings: People don’t just want support 9-5 as Quit Victoria’s Cinzia Marrocco highlighted, pointing out that people who are quitting smoking are most active after 4PM.

 -    Use video content: Both Michele Goldman of the Asthma Foundation NSW and Elisabeth Tuckey shared videos that have generated genuine business benefit, particularly when targeting hard to reach males:

Headspace – we’ve got your back against bullying:

Asthma: the consequences can be serious

The conference is continuing over the next couple of days, so be sure to follow #SMNFP for more insightful updates.