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.
- Events like Social MasterMind // Social Media for Social Change are an amazing opportunity for companies like SMG to deliver incredible value in a very short time frame. I applaud the organizers of Net Change, and Sarah Prevette from RedWire for being bold and organizing this event. I’d also like to congratulate the other professionals who volunteered their time and recognize the contributions of the students from the Humber College Corporate Communications program. I hope to see another one next year (or sooner).