The Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine does a good job of applying their theory to real life situations; it’s about applying content instead of simply the content itself. For example, in the beginning of the book they talk about an individual, Peggy, who used the internet to raise money for the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund using free agents (Fine 6). She didn’t know very much about using technology but that didn’t stop her from trying and she managed to master the basics (Fine 7). A large part of her success was due to free agents as is indicated by this statement: “Her cause had gone viral, meaning friends of friends were doing things on her behalf without Peggy having to ask them to do so directly” (Fine 7). The concept of free agents was vague until they used Peggy’s story to show how people that we don’t necessarily have face to face relationships can help bring nonprofits causes go viral.
Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach does the opposite of The Networked Nonprofit when explaining content strategy but they made it work. They present their material in way that makes it easy to read; it’s not too wording and they like to use lists and bullet points to make the content simpler. A section that I thought was important but potentially extremely boring is about channels; if the information had been presented differently I would have skipped over it because it’s such a basic subject. It’s an important section because they discuss the importance of nonprofits spreading their messages across channels (Halvorson 75). They made a nice list with some basic thoughts on what channels are out there; if I had skipped over it I wouldn’t have missed out a few channels such as print media (Halvorson 76). I’ve been only focusing on online channels and completely disregarding anything outside of the internet. In that list they also included email campaigns; I’ve been using email to communicate with my group members during the entire half of the semester but I forgot to consider that it can used to advertise a cause (Halverson 76). If that information wasn’t organized in list form I would have completely ignored it.
While the two books differ on their approaches of presenting their written content one thing that they both use well are pictures. In chapter nine of The Networked Nonprofit they open with a story about The Humane Society of the United Society moving onto YouTube and they included a screen shop of their YouTube page (Fine 122); it’s a very old screen shot that isn’t as relevant as it was when the book was published in 2010 but the basics are there. They posted their own video and prompted those outraged by animal cruelty to make their own to raise awareness (Fine 123). The picture shows that their video was viewed almost one million times and then they proceeded to explain how they got those views; the screen shot adds interest to the topic. Content Strategy for the Web doesn’t use as many screen shots but they use plenty of graphs and pictures to add interest to important sections. When they’re explaining the breakdown of content strategy they included a cute picture of a cake that draws in your attention to that section. They say not to think of it as a cake because it’s not just about having all the ingredients; it’s more like managing the bakery—it’s not just about the product your working to produce; it’s about what it takes to get there (Halvorson 21).
Both books emphasize the importance of human interaction; you can’t just let robot do your work for you. In the audit section they make it known that there are tools that can used to monitor basic information but they don’t recommend them because “if you really want an in-depth understanding of your content…people power is the best way to go” (Halvorson 48). An automated system can give you a basic idea of what’s going on with your content but it can’t tell you what you’re doing right and wrong; it isn’t going to be able to appreciate support from their supporters and tell them thank you. The Networked Nonprofit focuses even more on human involvement; free agents are the focus of much of the book. Going back to Peggy’s story, she wouldn’t have been able to raise as must money for her organization if there weren’t other people involved (Fine 7). She had people that where friends of friends of friends contacting her and saying they heard about her attempts from another friend and decided to contribute. Free agents are the ones that spread the word on social media so nonprofits can’t ignore them because they control how successful an organization is (Fine 16).
Fine, Allison H., Kanter, Beth. The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.
Halvorson, Kristina, Melissa Rach, Content Strategy for the Web. Berkeley: New Riders, 2012. Print.