The use of Social Media by Social Entrepreneurs

This is from a guest blog post I wrote and which can be seen at twibes.com.  I’ve re-posted it here to share the links.

Recently I have been researching social entrepreneurship and wanted to highlight how social entrepreneurs use social media to leverage support for their causes.

What is a social entrepreneur? The SkollFoundation defines a social entrepreneur as “a change agent: a pioneer of innovations that benefit humanity.”
How do social entrepreneurs use social media to leverage donations or get people to support a cause? Can we solve the world’s problems by talking? The use of social media allows all kinds of entrepreneurs to engage everyone in a conversation.  According to Nick Temple, the network director at the School for Social Entrepreneurship, “For social entrepreneurs, untapped markets are people or communities in need, who haven’t been reached by other initiatives…the big question is no longer “what can we afford?” but “what should we use?” and “how do we use it best?”

Well, according to some research I’ve been doing, I found that the best use of social media is by making it easy for others to contribute to your cause.  There are many tools out there, but you have to figure out which works best.   For instance, Everywun.com and bettertheworld.com make it easy to give, which requires little effort and no money.  They have all kinds of ways for users to interact or support a cause.  When users post a badge on their blog, facebook page, or website, they earn credits when someone signs up after clicking on their badge.  Both sites feature their top supporters who have earned the most credits.  This in turn provides funds for the charities the individual supports.  In addition, Bettertheworld.com takes ideas from their users on what the organization can do to improve the user’s experience.   Another organization, Social Earth, who set up the twibes group for social-entrepreneurs to connect, also has the most up to date content on social entrepreneurship.  Beth’s blog has great guest posts about how to use social media to promote your social entrepreneurship or non-profit organization.  Even good “old-fashioned” email has evolved to implement sharing tools.

In this economy, fundraisers are too expensive; social media comes at no cost. The success of your organization largely depends on the way you interact with your donors, and what tools you make available for your contributors to promote your organization for you. The more we allow our friends to feel like they are contributing, the more they are willing to spread the message, since people want to be a part of something that is good.

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