Mapping your online media strategy

This free ebook from the Nonprofit Network will guide you through the process of choosing social media platforms and developing an effective online media strategy.

November 13th, 2013

This free ebook from the Nonprofit Network will guide you through the process of choosing social media platforms and developing an effective online media strategy.

will provide an overview of a few popular social media channels in South Africa and how they work, so that you can learn about the potential benefits of these networks for your organisation. You will also learn how to develop a content calendar for you web and social media work.

This ebook is for you if:

  • you are a nonprofit leader interested in using social media, but you don’t know which platform to choose or how to get started;
  • you would like to use social media in a more structured and strategic way;
  • you are trying to convince management to use social media in your organisation;
  • you have dabbled in social media, or use it to a limited degree, but don’t know what to do next;
  • you are wondering if you’re wasting your time on social media.

This ebook is produced by the – an online resource centre for nonprofit organisations, particularly those based in South Africa, that includes resources for nonprofits on using online media (websites, social media and newsletters). It was produced with the support of the O, without which this project would not be possible.

This ebook is the first in a series of three. The next two books are:

  • Finding your way with online media: An implementation guide for nonprofits; and
  • Are we there yet? Evaluating your online media for nonprofits.

Social media and the spread of information

“If the Internet didn’t exist, Barack Obama would not be president of the United States. The fact that the most powerful person in the world wouldn’t be in that position without the Internet and organizing online says something.”  Ben Rattray, founder of

These are the excuses I kept hearing from nonprofits:

  • “Our constituents don’t have computers, so there’s no purpose in using computers to communicate our work.”
  • “I don’t like computers, I don’t want to have to use them more than I already do.”
  • “This is too complicated to understand.”
  • “I’m too busy to learn something new.”
  • “I’ve managed to communicate without it so far, and I can still do my job just fine!”

What were they talking about? Email! Yes, these are the excuses I was hearing 15 years ago from nonprofits unwilling to use email in their organisations. Yet today, can any of us imagine functioning without it? Remember when e-mail pushed the boundaries of office technology? Yet somehow even the techno-phobes managed to catch up!

Now I’m hearing the same excuses about social media. Why are nonprofits so reluctant to embrace something new, even when the change is inevitable?

The question is not “Should we use social media?”

The question is “How do we use it effectively to advance our cause?”

A big obstacle is the belief that the online audience, particularly in South Africa, is still too small to invest the time and energy to communicate with. Not only is this a convenient excuse, it’s wrong. According to a Network Society study, one in three South African adults use the internet, and this is expected to increase to two in three adults by 2016.

There’s no area of human life that hasn’t been touched and reinvented by the digital age, and none more so than the rapid spread of information. As activists and advocates for your cause, you need to position your organisation to take advantage of these trends and use the right tools to give voice to your mission.

Shift in power

Before the great Internet era, news corporations and large firms were at the top of the information pyramid. Ordinary people only had the information that trickled down to them from on high. Citizen journalism soon changed this system and gave individuals the power to create their own media and tell their own stories.

This is more than democratising: it’s radicalising. Through social media, the powerless are given the chance to create, collaborate and express to their concerns.

“The Internet destroyed most of the barriers to publication. The cost of being a publisher dropped to almost zero with two interesting immediate results: anybody can publish, and more importantly, you can publish whatever you want.” Dick Costolo

Read the rest of this fascinating free ebook by downloading it .



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