September 20, 2010

4 reasons your exec director should be on Twitter

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twitterJohn HaydonExecutives at nonprofits should put community engagement via social media as a top priority in performing their jobs. They need to get their hands dirty. But more often than not, they don’t.

Usually, staffers do the “dirty work” with social media while management gets a debrief on return on investment.

This is like having a nurse’s aide listen to a patient’s acute cardiac symptoms and tell the heart surgeon where to operate. A lot of critical information would be lost without the surgeon using her own stethoscope to listen directly to the patient’s heart.

Listening to your community is no different. Your community’s voice has a particular rhythm that can be understood only firsthand.

Four reasons executive directors should be on Twitter

  1. Executives can understand the community better through unfiltered direct access.
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  3. They can create greater trust within that community by demonstrating the organization’s commitment to engage.
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  5. They can respond faster to the community by eliminating the time it takes to play the telephone game.
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  7. They can anticipate needs that less experienced staff members might miss.

But what if our exec team members are too busy?

Too busy? If they aren’t willing to make an effort to hear firsthand from the people they serve, maybe they aren’t the right leaders for the organization. Maybe their heart’s not in it?

What do you think?John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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  • John,

    Nice concise post. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. While the tool doesn't have to be Twitter. (It could also be getting out of the office to talk to clients, partners, donors, etc.) It's a real problem when EDs just don't want to ENGAGE with their constituents. This is just bad management.

    Cheers!
    Jocelyn

  • Excellent post. Most execs have forgotten to lead by example.

  • I liked your comment John. All too often I hear Executives say that twitter, blogging, communicating through social media etc. is outside their interests so others in the department or organization can do it. They are hanging on to a belief that these listening and communication tools are only for the troops not for the serious work of being a leader. Well a leader that refuses to look, listen, think and make decisions using these tools is a leader on their way out.