Fortunately there is plenty of competition for good causes online. The start of the Niche Network Series covers the basic benefits of three social media networks for do-gooders: Wiser.org, Care2 and Avaaz.org
Niche social networks are designed to optimize membership and engagement of their target audience (or vertical market.) They may be smaller in comparison to Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, LinkedIn, FourSquare and Pinterest however participation radiates outstanding levels of passion. This is the first in a four-part series of reports showcasing features, benefits and in some cases the limitations of a few of the social media enterprises that are part of an interesting spectrum beyond the big players. These are great listening posts to capture consumer insights of populations driven by specific interests. It takes strategy to succeed among niche audiences but with the right product their potential can produce interesting qualitative and quantitative results.
Niche networks based on good causes are rich in the spontaneous commitment level of their members. In the “doing good” not-for-profit arena a message or a campaign may keep audiences engaged for longer than those those in the big leagues. The following three are examples worth further exploration:
The team at Wiser describes the site as a global village for people who believe in a more just and sustainable world. The network, which currently has over 70,000 members and growing, recently celebrated their fifth anniversary. It offers members the chance to meet and connect with people working towards sustainability. Cross-connectivity for those in social justice, indigenous rights, and environmental stewardship is Wiser.org ‘s offer. The site is available in 9 languages.
Care2 is a “dot com” and its tagline is “make a difference.” Their platform is designed to help the users achieve that. The network includes a motivated community, driven by more than 19 million members who are passionate about a number of causes (animal welfare, the arts, peace, politics, etc.) Members can connect with others who share their interests, swap stories, send e-cards and more. A clean design which matches users with the causes of their interest and pro-bono volunteer opportunities to match them. Butterfly rewards is Care2’s gamified loyalty e-fundraising brand. For folks driven by health, peace and balance Care2 is a good choice as well.
Avaaz is a powerhouse with an accurate slogan “The World in Action.” They bank on ethic and global interdependence to serve their purpose. Avaaz is an incubator and portal for efforts to change injustice in every continent. It is available in 16 languages. Members can get involved in all sorts of causes at different levels, from email to crossing over onto “big league” social media. Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Their model of internet organizing allows thousands of individual efforts, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force.
Other “social niches” and digital tools to do good are: Idealist.org, Nabbuur, TakingITGlobal, BiD Network Foundation, GiveMeanng, Amazee, United Nations Volunteers, Change.org, Givology, Knight Pulse, Pop!Tech Hub, Kabissa, NetSquared, Social Actions, and many others can be found in this PBS guide:
Non-profit communicators, corporate giving professionals, and just about everyone: it is worth taking time to consider the positive ripple effect that accurate communications can produce for non-profit causes through the use of these networks. Are you ready to do some good?
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