Social Good Podcast 2.0

I’m about to celebrate my third anniversary of hosting the Social Good podcast at the Chronicle of Philanthropy. It is such a privilege and great fun to have conversations with interesting people ever month – and to have so many people listen!

However, as I’ve written recently, it’s time for nonprofits to switch gears regarding the use of social media. Using social media are not longer optional or marginal to nonprofit success, they are integral. In other words, “Within these organizations social-media tools aren’t a department, a function, or one staff member’s job. The tools are integrated into every department and every function of the organization.”

The Social Good podcast needs to keep up with this transition.

Peter Panepento, my smart, colleague at the Chronicle, and I began to discuss the next iteration of the podcast. I also reached out to the wonderful Britt Bravo for advice because she’s well, Britt, smart, funny and has her finger on the pulse of all things social change.

Here’s our thinking to date for a new format for the podcast beginning in January 2012.

We’d like to get the voice of nonprofit staff and board members who have real questions and challenges into the podcast. We’ll begin by asking people to tweet in their questions/problems in trying to keep their organizations relevant and effective in the fast changing nonprofit landscape. Should we recruit Millennials for our board? What do we do with our aging direct mail donor base? How do we create social media policies? The podcast will be a conversation I’ll facilitate between the questioner (who may want to remain anonymous) with an expert providing context, resources and a few simple, immediate next steps.

And now it’s your turn! What do you think of this direction? Should the scope be narrower and more specific? Should folks be able to email in questions (I think tweeting imposes a discipline of being concise, but I could be wrong!) Should there be a crowdsourcing element to the problem solving?

I’d love to hear your suggestions!


About the author

Allison Fine


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  • Allison — I think this is a great approach. I think this can provide a useful platform for balancing the “how do we THINK about X” and “how to we DO Y”. I find that when you’re only saying the “how to”, the context (the integration, culture changes) is critical to “doing it” right and making it count. I really like the idea of surfacing voices of real people in real orgs on the ground. You might even be able to find ‘experts’ who can honestly say “I was there 2 years ago and here’s what we did” which will be valuable in addition to the thought-leaders who might offer their voices as well. I’m hugely in favor. I can’t wait to hear it come to life!

  • Allison – First of all, congratulations on the anniversary. I think these are all excellent ideas. I would recommend the more interactive you can be, the better, i.e. the more you engage with your community, the more you will model the social engagement that social media (at its best) is designed to facilitate. In this light, you might want to consider facilitating some ’roundtables’ that don’t focus as much on the ‘expert’ but recognizes there are many folks doing creative work who we all can learn from.

    • Yes, great thoughts, Bonnie, thanks! Maybe the podcasts become a jumping off point for more conversations on other channels….

  • Allison, congrats on hitting the three year milestone – love your desire to shake things up to keep the podcast fresh and engaging. I think what you’ve proposed sounds like a great format. Another way to keep it interesting, may be to develop more of a cross-generational perspective. Perhaps have an NP Executive who has seen it all and been doing things the same way for many years – paired with a “Milennial” who may be approaching the same problems but with a little different perspective, and through different tools. I’ve been a huge advocate for greater cross-generational sharing and mentoring and think this could be a platform to do some of that in a positive way.

    Look forward to future podcasts!

    • Fantastic, though, Kari, thanks! This would be a particularly interesting convo as it pertains to org. culture, I think.

  • Hi Allison-

    I love when talented, intelligent content creators and thought leaders (like you) take the time to re-evaluate work and let the rest of us in to share our two cents! So, first of all, thanks :)

    The direction you’re suggesting reminds me of the Baudcast that Chad Norman at Blackbaud used to facilitate. I was a guest on there maybe half a dozen times; Danielle Brigida was a regular; and there were others from the community. Chad would pick a topic and then we would just have a conversation. He’d have questions to throw in if we started to slow down. But mostly it was a conversation amongst practitioners talking about the tools and strategies they were using. And it was fun to have a few folks on the line all sharing our examples and opinions.

    Maybe worth reaching out to Chad, too, to see if there’s interest on his end on being involved somehow. I know I certainly would love to chip in when valuable!

  • Hi Allison, +1 on the new direction. I like the idea of a voting component. You could use something like @uservoice to have the listener community vote up the question that you want to have presented for a given week, and maybe even the “experts” that you have on the show. The more you show how social media culture can run through every aspect of the podcast, the more minds you can win over. And as we both know, the minds that sit on nonprofit boards need to be won over in quick order. Good luck!

  • Oooh – loving all these ideas from Bonnie, Lisa, and Kari! I am a big believer in surfacing and leveraging peer-to-peer expertise, and all of the comments and suggestions here get at that. What about also pairing a staff person (or E.D.) from a “new and emerging” nonprofits with one from an “older, stable” organizations? Think that might be interesting pairing!

    From a listener perspective, I would suggest a pre-set topical approach. You could dive deep over a couple of months, or change the theme of the podcast monthly, and publish the calendar a few months’ out. For example: January’s podcast might address the issue of online donor cultivation, February about creating an open learning culture within the organization, etc. That way, listeners would be able to think about their questions to send in, and also turn into the podcasts of most interest to them.

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