April 2, 2010

How nonprofits can use geolocation

Museums and Foursquare can add up to a perfect pairing

brooklyn-museum-mayorBeth KanterIam putting the finishing touches on another social media lab designed for arts organizations. So, I’ve been updating arts 2.0 examples. I’ve also been trying to wrap my brain around whether or not Foursquare has value for nonprofits. I had to look no further than Shelley Bernstein’s blog over at the Brooklyn Museum to find some thoughtful experimentation and useful examples.

Back in December, the Brooklyn Museum started to experiment with FourSquare running a promotion to get people to check in and get a free membership. Shelley notes in her post the reason why they decided to explore FourSquare:

“As simply as I can put this, Foursquare is about place and identifying yourself through that. It is a celebration of the visitor—the people who crossed the river, who made it in the door and decided to identify themselves with us…right here at 40.67124,-73.963834.”

In this first experiment, the museum took advantage of the “tips” feature where users can leave tips about a location. They had their staff, local experts in the location, add tips about what was interesting for visitors in the neighborhood. Says Shelley: “As people explore our area, the Brooklyn Museum staff help them along in their journey pointing out the joys of pancakes at Tom’s Restaurant or the killer wine selection at Abigail’s.” Other ideas include a special museum badge. In addition, the museum has taken those tips and created a mashup with the Yelp API. Continue reading