Komen and communities

“What Susan G Komen doesn’t understand about communities and you should,” is an informative article from SEOmoz connecting online communities and how they interact to the Susan G. Komen funding situation. It will inform the case-study portion of my research.

It describes some ways communities are vastly different from those that existed in the pre-internet era when many well-established nonprofits were solidifying their management techniques. There were quite a few points I found valuable:

  • The writer, digital strategist Eric Pratum, says:

    In Shel Israel’s 2009 book Twitterville, he argues that communities and causes now form around issues of the day and not organizations.

  • Pratum states that networks take months or more to form, so it helps to make effective use of already-established ones, of which today there are no shortage. As he puts it, it helps to be “going where the people are rather than trying to build a more attractive community and then fill it with people.”
  • I would summarize a few of his other points about what works by connecting to the second “wing” of the Dragonfly Effect model of engagement, Grab Attention. All emphasize effectively motivating through emotion, basically.
  • Pratum’s summary of Komen’s actions is:

    In this move and decision, Susan G Komen caved to pressure, did not fully explain itself to the people most concerned, and never bothered to reach out to a community to engage with or support it.

  • Finally, he says this:

    Copying success often does not lead to success. Instead, plugging into ready and waiting communities and providing something they desperately need and care about does.

This is connecting a bit to my research on how nonprofits can raise funds online. Let’s hope the overlap helps me synthesize data better for deeper cognition (thanks, Nicholas Carr). Online communities may be a new theme I’ll have to add to my research trifecta eventually…


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