Many nonprofit organizations that are beginning to adopt Web 2.0 technologies consider them the “cool” part of their online communication. They look at them as a way to engage younger or larger audiences or to project an image of hipness.
But the reason social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr have become so popular is that they make it incredibly easy for people to work together. Yet, if you look at the internal structure of many organizations, you’ll see that they communicate with one another through phone calls, printed notes and in-person meetings. True, there’s no substitue for face-to-face communication, but social tools can make it much easier to share information among your workmates.
For example, every time we have a meeting at Talance HQ, we have our intranet chat open to facilitate sending links or snippets of documents back and forth. We open a bulletin board for every project so the whole team can communicate about it, and we have a record of everything that was said. Our wiki keeps track of standard procedures and methodologies so we can access them any time, and make revisions when necessary. We use these tools in the office and with our team members who live across the country, and we do it because it’s entirely practical.
The majority of our social tools are built into our website (you do have a CMS, don’t you?). It’s the perfect place to build out a business, because everybody knows your web address, and it’s all centrally stored and accessible online.
Think about what you can do to make it easier for your employees to communicate with one another, and then give them the tools they need. You’ll very well find your organization runs better just by opening up new avenues of communication.