Posted in Social Media on 11:00 am
People have always been naturally helpful to one another, and the Internet continues to break down barriers, allowing for new ways to assist one another. We’ve seen a proliferation of websites created for the sole purpose of sharing knowledge in a question and answer format, with even more set to launch.
Have you thought about how your nonprofit or foundation could use these Q & A sites to engage new supporters and build momentum for your mission?
One way, of course, is to use these sites for free advice. There’s plenty of tailored advice on topics that can help your organization, with everything from finance to fundraising and human resources questions being answered.
Another compelling way to use these sites is to share your organization’s expertise and knowledge. For example, if you are a environmental nonprofit are you answering questions about conservation, hiking or how to teach kids to be green? It’s likely that people who would support your organization have questions you can answer.
Or maybe you are a foundation who is actively funding programs that reduce childhood obesity. You can share the information you are learning with other people asking about this topic. Whatever the mission of your organization, offering up your expertise in this way can build momentum and engage more people in the complex social problems your foundation is working to address.
Here are some of the most popular Q & A sites with some thoughts on what makes each one unique.
Aardvark.com - Aardvark has a really easy interface that allows you to pose your questions, which it then fields to other users all over the world. Each Aardvark user names their areas of expertise (e.g. food, social media, carpentry) and then Aardvark emails them directly when a question on the topic is asked. Answers come via email, often within minutes. Aardvark was recently acquired by Google and also interfaces with Facebook & Twitter.
Quora - Quora is being built to become a database, with the lofty goal of having, “the database of knowledge should grow and grow until almost everything that anyone wants to know is available in the system.” Quora works by allowing you to follow topics of interest to you, then when you log on you see what is being asked and answered for those topics.
LinkedIn Answers – LinkedIn has had an Answers section on their social networking site for a long time. This is a good place to go for advice on nonprofit management (although there can be a lot to wade through here at times). But don’t forget about posting your answers on issue areas too, like sustainability , or health , or whatever topic your nonprofit or foundation is an expert on.
Harvard Business Review -Launched in the summer, this site features experts on topics of interest to business people, along with answers and advice from everyone. They highlight different experts who visit on occasion. Perhaps your organization could be an expert for them on your topic area?
How could your nonprofit or foundation use Q & A sites to increase your visibility or move your mission? Share you ideas in the comments.