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7 characteristics of networked nonprofits

by The NonProfit Times - April 16, 2013

Is your nonprofit networked? Here’s a hint: Just because it makes use of social media doesn’t mean the answer is yes, at least according to Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine.

The two social media experts wrote in their book “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” that knowing how to use social media well is not just about knowing which button to push or which technology to employ. Instead, organizations need to adopt a networked approach to connect people to one another and help build strong, resilient, trusting relationships that lead to real on-the-ground change.

If your organization wants to be defined as a networked nonprofit, Kanter and Delahaye Paine wrote that it needs to embody certain characteristics. Networked nonprofits:

  • Know their organizations are part of a much larger ecosystem of organizations and individuals that provides valuable resources;
  • Know that relationships are the result of all the interactions and conversations they have with their networks;
  • Experiment and learn from experience;
  • Have data-informed cultures;
  • Know how to inspire people;
  • Work differently from other organizations; and,
  • Are masters at using social media.


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