Nonprofits are good at stretching a dollar and knowing how to leverage resources and connections. So what better type of organization is there to start a Virtual Community?
In our last blog we talked about the United Nations Foundation who offer many examples of unbounded global communities focused on specific causes. The root of each of these communities is the specific cause that bring people together; whether that cause is assisting women, reducing hunger or managing relief in a disaster. In all of these causes social media has allowed a virtual community to make real impact without concern for geography. I dare to say today the global impact of many nonprofits is broader and faster than ever before in history, thanks to social media. New internet social tools can connect people together into virtual communities around a common cause, with ease.
In an earlier post we discussed nonprofits in Tanzania and a new virtual network called Kabissa focused on connecting people and organizations working in Africa; soon we hope to launch a network group focused on supporting children to help build future leaders and connect nonprofits working in Tanzania. Invitations are out to over 50 other organizations we hope will join us at Kabissa to share and support each other’s work in Tanzania. This network has already sparked a face to face visit later this summer between two organizations, who may compliment each other well. In the future we expect to have about 100 organizations as part of this new community which began as an idea in the woods of a small New Hampshire town, thousands of miles away.
To build a virtual community simply takes a cause – one that people can share and be moved to action. Nonprofits, in most cases do not share the territorial instincts of business, this allows for more open communities. Virtual communities can be used to link volunteers, donors and other nonprofits with similar missions in a common geography. Places to build virtual communities include networking sites such as Kabissa for Africa, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook and others that may existing within your nonprofit work area. These virtual communities can offer a faster response to a need, eliminate geographical boundaries and enable partnering to ensure optimization of every dollar. A virtual community can help people share progress, best practices and help avoid duplicated efforts.
Consider your own nonprofit; are there others with a similar vision and values in the area you work? Are there similar nonprofits in other locations? Can you help each other to broaden reach, share best practices and avoid pitfalls or duplication of efforts? If the answer is yes or even maybe to any of these questions – what are you waiting for, give it a try to start your own virtual learning experience!