Social Media for Grantmakers

Nonprofits have been much quicker than grantmakers to adopt social media at their organizations. There are many reasons why grantmakers have hesitated to incorporate social media in their grantmaking and communications including uncertainty on how to use it most effectively and a fear of negative feedback from the community among other reason.

The Gateway Center for Giving brought together grantmakers this week for an open conversation about how social media can be effectively incorporated into grantmaking resulting in stronger communications with the community and grantees.

Maryanne Dersch of 501creative gave a wonderful presentation showing the grantmakers how if they focus on the principles of social media  and embraced these principles they could become better philanthropists.  Some of those principles included collaboration, openess, transparency, timeliness, sharing, and partnership.

So how can social media help grantmakers? It can:

  1. Increase public understanding of the issues grantmakers focus on
  2. Publicize results and outcomes
  3. Increase general awareness of the foundation

All of this will hopefully result in better grant applications, better communication, and more innovation.

Throughout all of this Maryanne continually stressed how social media tools (blogs, Facebook, twitter, YouTube) and the principles behind them can break down walls- bursting open the traditional one-way foundation processes and hopefully making foundations more effective at what they do.After walking through the general principles of social media, the walked group though some local and national examples of social media done well.  She pointed to examples from Missouri Foundation for Health (Facebook), Case Foundation (Facebook), Taproot (LinkedIn), Washington Area Women’s Foundation (blog), Kellogg Foundation (Twitter), and ARCHS (YouTube).  These are just a few of the great examples out there of grantmakers making good use of the social media tools available to them.

Overall it was a great program and some amazing information was shared.  We hope that this is just the start of a growing conversation in the community about how grantmakers and the nonprofits they partner with can come together to effectively harness the power of social media.
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