Two ways Google Plus will change how nonprofits connect with their supportersIf you’re reading this and work for a nonprofit, don’t waste your time with Google Plus – especially if your peanut butter is already spread too thin.

However, if have time and you’re the curious geek type, go for it! As Andy suggests, “Experiment Personally then Apply Professionally”.

Just know that the vast majority of your constituents will continue to be on Facebook for a long time.

Two ways Google Plus will change how you connect

Though it is early, there are a couple of features that stand out about Google+: Hangouts and Circles.

• Hangouts- Hangouts is a way to conduct group video conferencing with other Google+ users.

I can see Hangouts creating a paradigm shift in how organizations connect with their supporters. Imagine key staff (the ones who can effectively represent the org) posting “open office hours”where G+ users can pop into a Hangout and chat with them face-to-face about critical topics.

Here’s what Danielle had to say about Google Plus in general:Two ways Google Plus will change how nonprofits connect with their supporters
• Circles- Facebook and Twitter both allow users to put people in specific groupings or lists. But how many people use or even know about Facebook friends lists? Circles, on the other hand, put segmentation up front in their product – and they make it fun!

I could see organizations segmenting their donors, volunteers, partners into a various different circles.

Here’s what Andy had to say:Two ways Google Plus will change how nonprofits connect with their supporters

Social media is about people, not technology

If you’re messing around with Google Plus, or have decided to wait until the early adopters flush out the bugs, a few basic principles stay true:

  • People use social media to connect with other people, not technology. When was the last time you felt truly understand and appreciated by your laptop?
  • Social media is less important than your story and how well you can tell it. If don’t have a good story to tell, having a megaphone is useless.
  • Fish where the fish are. Right now, mostly the geeks and other uncool kids are using Google+. It remains to be seen whether Google+ will be adopted en mass, so spend your on the platforms (Facebook) with the people who love you.
  • -> Also see Frank Barry’s article called “Social Media Best Practices: 12 Tips for Making the Best of Any Social Site“.

In short, stay interested in where Google+ is going, but don’t spend huge resources on it right now.

How do you see nonprofits using Google Plus?

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  1. Nice post John! I think that hangouts could be amazingly compelling platforms organizations to share REALLY SOCIAL content. Picture it now: A major donor joins the hangout to talk about the impact of his/her gift with grant recipients and other interested people. Let’s keep experimenting personally and then see what organizations can apply.

    Big thanks for the links to my blog and twitter, too!

    1. Andy – I can totally see that exact scenario. There’s nothing like talking face-to-face. But if you can’t be there in person (for cost reasons and otherwise), then hangout with them!

  2. True that the “fish” aren’t yet on Google Plus. However, if your job at a nonprofit is to be on top of digital communication, it’s probably worthwhile to dip into Google Plus at this time, right? I really feel that Google Plus is going to be a critical communication piece once Google adds business pages. After all, Google is in the business…of showing business search results. 

    Great tips on staying real on social media, too, John.

  3. Great post John.  The Hangouts capability really interests me for working with boards and donors.  How could this tool make communicating easier and more effective?

  4. I’m pretty sure my donors aren’t there yet (and really, only on FB a bit). But I LOVE the idea of using hangouts like that! Like having ongoing cultivation events… Brilliant! Thank you.

  5. I’m designing a for profit online business for science teachers and other geeks. I hope G+ will be successful with my target market, non-profit or not. Shouldn’t the word ‘time’ be in your sentence: “It remains to be seen whether Google+ will be adopted en mass, so spend your (time, resources?) on the platforms (Facebook) with the people who love you.”? Thanks for an excellent blog.