Let’s face it, most causes are in a rut online.
The vast majority of e-communications fall into three increasingly shopworn categories: solicitations for funds, “action alerts” usually consisting of emails to your Congressman, and monthly newsletters.
We can do better.
One of the livelier conversations at the recent gathering of cause groups with Seth Godin centered on creative new jobs for online community members. Instead of sifting constantly for the 1% of your list that might give money, why not put the other 99% to work?
Following are some of the online volunteer jobs that emerged, along with a few creative additions of our own:
• DIGGers, REDDITors, and GATHERers People on Digg.com , REDDIT.com and GATHER.COM can vote for stories, rants and blog posts they find especially noteworthy. Highly rated items get elevated on each site, thereby attracting the attention of even more folks.
• BADGErs. Invite MySpacers, bloggers and others to download and display badges (graphics) that spotlight your cause. Some badges have a fundraising aim; most don’t.
• LENSMASTERS. Seth Godin’s own creation is rapidly emerging as a charity destination, and has attracted more than 70,000 people who build one-page “lenses” on a range of topics. [Squidoo]
• GREETERS. Several groups are enlisting tenured online donors to serve as a sort of welcome wagon for new donors – by personally thanking the new arrivals, donor to donor.
• MAVENS AND KIBBITZERS. Online volunteers who promote your group and cause through comments on public blogs, and by commenting on articles in the online press. Mavens with their own blogs can be especially helpful.
• WARD HEALERS. What’s better than your organization having its own MySpace page? Having regular MySpace denizens organize on your behalf, by tapping the organic and authentic passion that is already present.
• FEEDERS. Once you get your head around RSS, it becomes impossible to live without. Your feeders will serve as RSS evangelists, showing folks how to connect with you via your fabulous RSS feeds. You do have fabulous feeds don’t you?
• WATCHERS. Monitoring your presence on countless blogs, social network sites, and online media is an overwhelming task. Your watchers can help, by alerting you to posts of particular interest, or that might require an “official” response.
This is just a start. Can you think of other ways to engage your community? Please share!