engagement, network weaver, presentations, social media policy

Moving From Stakeholder To Network Weaver

9 Comments 13 September 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 10.47.48 PMCan an organization build a “success strategy” for moving stakeholders, those already invested in the success of an organization, up a ladder of engagement to become network weavers? To become online fundraisers, too? These were the key questions I considered and spoke about during a presentation this week at the Women in Philanthropy speaker series. The audience, primarily women in development and marketing, wanted to know how they could find, connect with, and motivate their own fans to become even more engaged online.


Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 10.49.31 PM

The challenge for me ahead of the presentation was to pinpoint a few standard organizational elements that are critical to successfully growing a tribe of network weavers, and ongoing systems that would continue to support this effort. In other words, a replicable game plan. (And then, of course, adjust it based on learnings!)

The first part of the presentation (embedded at the bottom of this post) focuses on topics such as: what is a network weaver, the theory of the networked nonprofit, understanding free agents, and Small World Network Theory. I include a number of examples of network weavers in action, and networked organizations in action, within the slide presentation.

The second part of the presentation dives into what I am calling the Playbook in Four-Part Harmony. This Playbook consists of four connected activities that support the development of a culture of network weavers in-house and externally. The systems are:

  • Encouraging staff to actively use social media channels;
  • Developing social media policies;
  • Training staff/volunteers/board members on social media use, and
  • Assigning private online spaces for online network weavers and more highly engaged fans to use.

It’s not a simple thing for an organization to become one that supports and fosters internal and external network weavers. One audience member asked me how to begin if the organization isn’t really doing much, or if not everyone wants to use social media, or…if this just seems like too much to do. It is an iterative process, and not one that will and should happen all at the same time.

Start with choosing the one thing you personally are able to do with the playbook. Begin with talking to someone in management (or on the Board), one-on-one, about what it would mean to have an internal culture of network weavers. Speak with these folks about the value of encouraging stakeholders to become network weavers to the organization.

And just begin. Develop a set of social media policies, or a plan to train staff on how to use social media, or supporting staff activities on social media. Start with one. Then move to the next item in the playbook. Do what you can, when you can, and over time. When they come together, you’re moving fans (and staff!) from stakeholders to network weavers. Check out the presentation, below, for more.


Your Comments

9 Comments so far

  1. Dear Debra @askdebra:twitter

    Thanks so much for these nice slides. I looked through them and they point out many things I can do to improve the use of social media as an NGO.
    Getting your staff involved is surely helpful to share with their networks. Also we want to have engagement – reader comments – as well as having our blog posts or web content shared.

    The CyTRAP BlogRank Benchmark below is interesting because it shows how some NGOs do when it comes to get their content shared by staff, readers, etc.
    CyTRAP BlogRank for NGOs – The Top 10 Blogs

    Thanks for sharing.
    Urs E. Gattiker – auf @ComMetrics:twitter


  2. Thanks Urs. I didn’t know about the CyTRAP ranking, and especially about European NGO ranking, – thanks for posting this information.


  3. melindalewis says:

    There are a lot of parallels here, too, in the ‘offline’ world, in terms of moving leaders up the ladder of engagement, and finding ways to endow your key folks with increasing responsibility and power, as a way to leverage their investment in your organization (and cause). This is the kind of thing I’d love to see you do a recorded presentation/talk on, because I think your way of talking about how and why this deep engagement matters would be so compelling. And I’d like to watch it! :)



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Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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