Net2ThinkTank: What is Needed to Facilitate More Nonprofits' Adoption of the Social Web?

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This month we've launched a new initiative, Net2ThinkTank, to leverage your collective wisdom about how the social web can be used for social change by highlighting its success stories and generating solutions to challenges.

This month's question was: What is needed to facilitate more nonprofits' adoption of the social web?

Bridget Wynne and Jocelyn Harmon of the Nonprofit Technology Blog share the main obstacles they see to adoption as being time, money, skills, no clear ROI (Return on Investment) and lack of online evangelists within nonprofits.

In a comment on Bridget's post, Jason King adds that he thinks many nonprofits haven't even heard of the social web tools that exist, and if they have, they haven't thought to apply them to their work.

David Geilhufe of Social Source echoes the call for ROI documentation and says that "achievable models" are essential for adoption.

Michael Ambjorn of Tools, Thoughts and Things One Can Do with a Little Time and Hardly Any Resources writes that it is essential that "cornerstone skills" are in place. "What has worked well is to start off with some PC 101 skills that simply speed up the inevitably slow laggard-laptops/desktops … and then gently moving over into Web 2.0 without making the transition too obvious … you'd be surprised how this improves retention."

J. Sebastian Treager, CEO of Razoo, also outlines the factors that constrain nonprofits (resources, risk, passion and priorities), and says that the solution is to create tools that are, "free, easy and meaningful."

Heather Cronk of Pledebank and Seth Rosen of Technovist believe that the answer is actually a change of mindset. Nonprofits need to get over their fear of losing control and adopt a new philosophy of making their constituents the distributors of their message, and their work.

Rosen writes, "The answer to this question is that nonprofits need to take a hard look at what their constituents want, which is increasingly to be acknowledged as a partner in social change and to have their contributions recognized and valued. Once this happens there really isn't a question about adopting the social web, as doing so is a clear necessity."

Please be sure to give our contributors some link love and click through to read their whole post. If somehow I missed your post, please let me know, and direct people to it in the comments below.

The next Net2ThinkTank question will be posted on October 4th and the round-up of posts will be posted on October 11th. If you have a suggestion for a question to be asked of the Net2ThinkTank, post it in the comments of this post or email me at

As Corey Pudhorodsky often signs off his 501c3Cast: "If we keep working together, it will get better."