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It's a big mistake to say nonprofits should wait on using Google Plus.
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Judi Sohn's profile photoSue Anne Reed's profile photoMaria Reyes-McDavis's profile photoMichael Farver's profile photo
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It is a big mistake for non and for profits to wait in general.
 
I've heard too many "consultants" say "Only early adopters are there now... Wait until it becomes more mainstream." This kind of blanket advice is not helpful.
 
John, have you developed specific strategies for non-profits using Google+?
 
What's the best case you've heard made thus far (or made yourself :) re nonprofits and Google+? The recent Chronicle on Philanthropy piece on it wasn't very compelling. But I continue to dabble...
 
David - Creating Hangouts with key supporters to better understand their motivations. Posting a virtual crisis center using Hangouts. Using Circles to define highly targeted segments. Staff should use Google plus as themselves for now. Investigate and be curious, but only if you're winning on Facebook.

Marc - I have yet to develop a formal strategy with an org, but I wouldn't categorically tell them to wait. It all depends on their resources and their curiosity. 
 
Thanks John. The one thing I would suggest to your list is using the huddle feature for fundraising/event planning since its so quick and friendly in its mobile form.
 
Great idea. And it's our list. 
 
I still think there's a huge difference between a nonprofit and the people who work for the organization. I think the key to success on Google+ versus other platforms is that an organization can show who makes up their staff as individuals. I am not a brand. I am me. Google+ can be a great way to connect with others, as me, who share interest in the brand I represent.

On the contrary, on Facebook or Twitter if I even want to comment on something that someone says on our page it appears with the brand's name & logo.

So I still maintain that brands should wait to jump in to Google+...but the people who represent those brands should be here.
 
+Judi Sohn Facebook Pages allow for admins to post as the Page or themselves. 
 
+John Haydon I know, but it's not the default behavior so many don't do it. And when they do they're not clearly identified as being part of the page. I'd love to see something in the middle, where folks can be tagged/ID'ed as staff but still be themselves. I'm hopeful something like that will be part of the brand experience here.
 
+Judi Sohn It's an issue of educating Page admins, which Facebook seems to be getting better at. 
 
But, wouldn't it make sense to be on here in whatever capacity that you can? If G+ continues to grow, even at a lesser rate, and a non-profit as brand and/or staff is on here with a full presence, than wouldn't a donor/vol/follower not feel more likely to trust and invest in that brand.

I can't promise that G+ will dominate social media in 3years. But if it does, I don't understand how a brand or brand manager will be ready for it by avoiding it now.
 
+***** could a non-profit blog work as almost a brand on here. Instead of pointing to a brand page, point to a blog?
 
+Judi Sohn I agree. Plus, the nature of Facebook means that individual employees are less likely to allow complete strangers access to their wall simply because they are fans of the org.
 
+Marc Edwards Good point about donors/vol/followers "feeling more likely to trust and invest in that brand" . The brand effect being on Google Plus has can't be overstated: Cutting edge, curious, flexible, youthful, forward-thinking...
 
Exactly, Danny. I just don't want to see brands treat Google+ as yet another faceless broadcast channel.
 
Early are shaping its dynamics and intimacy tone, as +Mari Smith pointed out. This is the chance to make feedback count among the googlers - several improvements have been made because of users' feedback. Those who wait will have to conform with rules that others made for them.
 
+Neto Mejia "Those who wait will have to conform with the rules that others made for them." I want to get that on a t-shirt!
 
been pushing it to nonprofits since day 1 (heck- wrote a blogpost 5 days after it opened about how it's great for nonprofits)
+John Haydon the only reason ppl say to wait is because nonprofits have a hard enough time with other outlets- to learn a new one might completely fry their remaining brain cells :)
 
I'm not sure I agree totally with this. I think that nonprofits should wait to make their own profile until business profiles are released. However, employees and supporters of nonprofits should dive right in as themselves.
 
Ceci - I think that's what everyone is saying here. 
 
+John Haydon I agree and disagree. A) Nonprofits should definitely be keeping an eye on Google+ and find out if people are talking about them or the issues they care about. I like Beth's idea of spending 15ish minutes a day to see what's happening. If the engagement is there, adapting that and putting it in to the social media mix. B) Nonprofits should absolutely wait to build a "profile" and a "following" until Google releases its brand pages and people know the direction that is heading.
 
I am saying they should wait. Have to disagree with you. It's about where their community is, not what all the bloggers are using.
 
Couldn't agree more, those that are saying it, likely just can't pinpoint the value or see far ahead of their noses to get it :-)
 
I'm on the road so I'll be brief: check your website analytics. If Google accounts for traffic to your site, shouldn't your team be exploring G+?
 
+John Haydon I think if a nonprofit is content marketing, it absolutely needs to integrate +1 tech, if only for SEO value.
 
+John Haydon I think they should wait or rather don't jump with heavy time investment quite yet. Take an ROI approach to the amount of time that is being spent, especially if they haven't really built up their networks in other places or have a shitty web site or don't have a decent CRM or haven't yet defined KPIs for their overall online communications or marketing efforts (many haven't). With that said - taking a small amount of time to learn the platform, get the lay of the land, imagine the possibilities without investing a lot of time - that's what I think is a good approach. Otherwise, it is shiny object syndrome. I said as much over at the Chronicle of Philanthropy and in this post: http://www.bethkanter.org/early-wait-google/ I've been doing nonprofit technology capacity building and working the sector for 32 years, the tools come and go, but sustainability, strategic focus, and good practice remain the same. There are ways to be strategic about testing the waters -- but if an organization is investing time on Google + when there are higher priorities - the time will be wasted. There's too much to do to make the world a better place than fritter away time that might be invested wisely someplace else.
 
+Beth Kanter Totally agree. If there's a hole in the roof, put off the purchase of the Persian rug. 
 
+Beth Kanter I love what you said about building up organizational strengths, rather than focusing externally on platforms. Acquiring knowledge isn't as important as developing wisdom and creativity. 
 
+Beth Kanter Love it. I've been spending that amount of time on here not because of lack of interest but due to time. We've got a lot of things happening right now that are super exciting, but have completely drained my social media time.
 
Magnificent give and take on this issue - not just food for thought, but a veritable feast. I'm finding this entire exercise fascinating.
 
Some wicked smaaht people heeya. 
 
you're hiring too many consultants, john! lol
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