Social Media has taken a big flight in the past decade. For some, it is even hard to imagine how life was without Facebook, Twitter and other social network sites. Most companies, especially in the business to consumer type of trade, are already on and finding new ways to promote their products and services to new audiences. And so should non-profit organisations. Because your next volunteers, donors or projects are out there. Updating their statuses, creating groups and discussions, blogging. And in general, ready to help you. At least some of them.
Especially for Non Profit organisations, we designed the WAVE model for social media. We tested it in the second half of 2009 with the 10K4N Challenge, a challenge to run 10 kilometer on a given day to get fit, connect with colleagues and help the Nanhi Kali project of the Naandi Foundation by raising money. The principle of the model is simple:

  • the 3 W questions
  • finding your Audience
  • use Versatile tools
  • Engage.

The 3 W questions will give you insight in what you want to achieve with using social media, why you want to achieve that, and who can help you achieve that. Basically, this is tuning your social media strategy to your organisation’s mission, vision and strategic goals. By doing so, you enable your organisation to make sure your effort contributes to the overall goals.
Finding your Audience is about knowing where the people are that will do volunteer work or make donations. In your audience, there are some people that we came to call the Angels. Evangelists, promotors of your cause. The Angels will spread your word to their networks, and magnify the power of the waves you are creating. Equally important is defining who is not your audience.
Essential for success is the use of versatile tools. Do not pick a tool and then make your audience and angels use that. In stead, find where they are, and start from there. Also, do not be afraid to abandon a tool if it does not contribute to your goals.
And to cap it all off, Engage! If you just register a page or account, put in a ‘Hello World’ message and wait for the volunteers and donors to come running, you are definitely on the wrong track! Building a community takes effort and time. And in the Social Networking arena, the adage ‘the more value you put in, the more value you get out’ is an absolute truth.
In the slide set embedded here, a full picture of the WAVE model, with some examples taken from the afore mentioned 10K4N Challenge.