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This chapter is from the book

Convincing the Powers That Be

Even though at this point you might already be convinced of the efficacy of Google+, you may be asking, “How do I convince my boss (executive director, board, you get the point) to let me get on one more social media platform?”

I remember the first time I heard, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” I hated it. It sounded like a lame cop out. It is the response of slackers.

How wrong I was. That phrase has allowed me to take a number of risks. But as nonprofit coach Gary Broussard said in a recent conversation, “A quality well-received program is rarely rolled back.”

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Start personal: Your employer cannot stop what you do personally. You might not be able to start out at a work computer or on work time, but it is worth it to start out. Take the time to learn the norms of Google+ for yourself before you go gangbusters on creating a page. Be interested and be interesting. Circle people who sound interesting to you, for any reason (personal, professional, anything) and develop your own following by being interesting (comment, +1, interact, and post interesting updates).
  • Follow interesting people: Social media is pretty boring if you follow boring people or if you follow too few people. So get your circles going. Make some work related, but be sure to include other groups as well. Like Bourbon? Search for other bourbon lovers. Like bocce ball? Create a bocce ball circle.
  • Measure results: Executive directors and boards love results. So track them. See if you can get a look at your nonprofit’s web analytics. Look for things like overall visits and top referring sites. Watch to see whether a post from you helps drive traffic to your site. Or if a post from you helps bring more people to an event. These are the things that help people overcome inertia.
  • Look for allies: Every organization seems to have a few people who are open to trying new tools. Make it your mission to find them. Unfortunately, they are not always on the marketing or fundraising teams. Sometimes the best ones are found outside your organization. One great way to connect with like-minded people is by attending a Social Media Breakfast (SMB). At these monthly gatherings, you will hear case studies of local businesses and nonprofits using social media to expand their business or impact. And you will hear an expert talk about an aspect of social media you might not have considered. To see if there’s an SMB near you, go to: http://www.socialmediabreakfast.com/about.

Your boss or your board wants to make sure the nonprofit benefits from your interest in Google+. Being involved yourself first will both get you acquainted with the tools and give you a sense of what Google+ can do well. It will also give you a sense for what things to measure. When you can show your boss or board that “X# of new hits on the site are from Google+” or “Y# of new donors came from Google+,” you will have a much easier time convincing them. Finding and talking to other people doing this in other organizations will help you consider other ways to convince skeptical bosses or boards.

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