The organization is a non-government organization(NGO) made up of members who provide health care and accommodation services to the community. The NGO is particularly interested in how it can provide education and professional development opportunities to its members. It is also very concerned about recruitment and retention, and is keen to investigate ways of supporting staff. And it is very keen to communicate and collaborate with other organizations who are looking at the same employment issues, not just in health.
Where to from here?
The NGO would like ideas on how it can utilize social networking technology and networked learning to reach out to organizations and individuals who are interested in similar issues. It has a traditional website and uses Elluminate to deliver education packages.
Here are some of my initial ideas:
- Contact and network with people who are 'experts' in social networking in the NGO context such as Beth Kanter. Network with them, see what they say and seek their advice. For example, Beth has a great blog called 'Beth's Blog: How nonprofits can use social media'. In it she talks about issues facing NGOs, develops strategies and shares links and resources.
- Also, contact and follow people who specialize in workplace learning, life-long learning and professional development such as Michele Martin and Tony Karrer. Their blogs are hugely rich in ideas and resources. They are also founders of the Work Literacy project which aims to support "individuals, companies and organizations who are interested in learning, defining, mentoring, teaching and consulting on the frameworks, skills, methods and tools of modern knowledge work."
- Become familiar with the technology that is available, and think about how it could be utilized to communicate, collaborate and share. Going back to Beth, she uses Slideshare to publish and share her presentations such as this one: Nonprofits, healthcare and social media.
- Don't waste time looking at media and technology that costs - make it a rule to only utilize 'free stuff'.
- Make use of free learning events and opportunities that will help educate everyone on how to use technology. For example, for information about the ins and outs of blogging, I would recommend the 31 Day Bogging Challenge and 31 Day Comment Challenge.
- And don't forget that YouTube provides thousands of instructional videos that gives information on how to use particular tools and resources. Here is a video on how to make baked lemon cheesecake which I know has nothing to do with social media, but I think it illustrates really nicely how YouTube can be used to teach and share collaboratively.
- Start to incorporate social media into everyday working life. For example, for collaborative projects that requires the development of a document, use Google docs instead of sending emails back and forth. Another suggestion would to be to use a social bookmarking web site such as Delicious to share resources, which is particularly useful if working on a collaborative project.
- Start to build a network by 'getting out there' and sharing ideas and resources. Start to build a reputation for sharing and collaborative work, and then people will ask to connect with you. This may involve starting an organization blog or wiki. But at the same time, be mindful that it can take time and effort to develop a meaningful network.
What other tips would you pass on? What has worked well for you and what hasn't worked at all? Is there any difference in how an organization would approach networking to an individual?
Image: 'Meeting Table' mnadi