As I wrote yesterday, Rob and I participated in the Social Mastermind // Social Media for Social Change event as part of Net Change week. I think we both had a remarkable experience.

The day saw us arrive and be assigned to consult with a non-profit. Rob worked with the Toronto Arts Council, a group that provides funding to support the development, accessibility and excellence of the arts in Toronto. I was matched with Meal Exchange, a national charity that mobilizes youth leaders to help eliminate the root causes of hunger and poverty. Here’s a short video the folks at Meal Exchange put together for their 10th anniversary earlier this spring. Both Rob and I were really impressed and inspired by the work our clients are doing.

First on the agenda was to take a briefing from our new clients (for the day) on their organization including their current web, marketing, communications and social media activities. We also learned about their structure, budget and target audiences.

Then we began the process of focused brainstorming to generate ideas and help bring together the various components of a strategy. Rob and I were both lucky to be in a position to reach out to colleagues back at SMG WHQ for help and support with research.

Some key things stood out:

  • We are so fortunate to be working in this emerging field of social media and digital communications. It is incredible to be able to take the experience and perspective we have from working with our phenomenal clients and apply that knowledge to help these deserving organizations.
  • It was very apparent that these organizations operate incredibly efficiently on small budgets. And while social media tools are free, the time investment to use them effectively is costly. The non-profit groups have little capacity for experimentation, so aligning our recommendations to suit their situations was key.
  • Networks are so powerful. As I was working away with Dave from Meal Exchange and Parm from Humber College, I was able to reach out to someone in my network and establish a connection that might help make one of their annual events better. Aside from providing strategic counsel for digital communications, that kind of immediate response from people in my network just goes to show the kind of capacity there is in our communities to give back.


  1. maggiefox Author

    Leona and Rob – thank you so much for taking time out of your very busy days to spend on such a worthwhile cause. I’m really glad the SMG team could support Sarah and her efforts to leverage “social media for social good”. I’d also like to see another event like this soon – and hope that our social media colleagues will turn out in full force to support it!

  2. @themcinerney

    I am currently a Humber College post-grad public relations student and had the opportunity to sit on the ‘expert’ panel with Rob Clark yesterday. I enjoyed the experience greatly. Rob brought up a valuable point that I had not considered. You reiterated that point here and I’m glad that you did.

    One of the strengths you hear about social media is its cost – usually free. What isn’t voiced often enough as it turns out is that while most social media services are free, there is the cost of operating them. The sites require constant maintenance and monitoring which not all organizations have time or budget for. While not as much of a problem for large companies, it was an issue Rob put on the table right away when planning for a not-for profit.

    Thanks for making me reconsider the cost of social media.

  3. Glad to hear about your great experience. Events like these are so valuable, hoping more and more will pop up.

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