Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Surf the crowd or create a mob? (Part 8 of 11 NetNon series)

“The inmates are running the asylum.”
“We know what our audiences want.”
“We have been doing this for 20 years.”
“We need to control the quality and protect the brand.”
“Crowds are one spark short of a mob.”

Can’t you just hear the conversation now, you just asked leadership if they would allow you to crowdsource your next campaign. Yikes.

The conclusion to Chapter 8 in the Networked Nonprofit says it like this:

‘Some critics may sneer at what they believe to be amateurs bumbling around in territory formerly the reserve of professionals. And organizations are still ultimately responsible for how their efforts unfold.

But at its best, crowdsourcing is a marriage between professionals and volunteers who have the goodwill and passion to work together to benefit an entire community. Leveraging crowds  is an important and inexpensive way to lift the oppressive weight that so many staffers feel on their shoulders. And by microplanning, organizations can reduce the risk and fear that traditional planning processes create and enable more people to participate in more meaningful ways for social change.’

The book does a great job providing real examples with real results, plus very actionable steps to make this reality.

The part I really clicked with is the microplanning.  “Microplanning is an iterative process of small experiments that lets organizations change, scale, or scrap them easily, quickly and inexpensively.”

So instead of long drawn out plans, with lots of research, steps, stats, industry standards and time spent coming up with one awesome plan, you just start with small ones and see what works. Then build from there.

As you run these small tests you learn about your audience\crowds. You learn to plan your goals, the actions the crowd will take, who to target and what you will do with the crowd input.

"The inmates wont run the asylum, but they may tell you what to improve."
"You may know what your audience wanted yesterday, but they change."
"We have been doing it right for 16 out of the 20 years, not so much in the last 4."
"You can’t control the brand and quality doesn’t matter if noone cares about it."
"Crowds will teach you to be a better organization and yes there may be a mob out there."

I am going to share my thoughts about the book "The Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine over 11 posts, this was part 8 (one for each chapter).  But rather than just tell you what the chapter is about, I am going to share what I learned from it, any reactions and extra thoughts that I would add.  However the big caution I have with this, is that I am just not as smart and experienced as Beth and Allison, so you should probably just buy the book.

No comments: