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I am in awe of the immense power of social media in terms of how any given individual, with access to a computer, can reach out to the world. It is an incredible marketing asset and we are yet but dipping our toes in the water of this mighty ocean. I am particularly interested in the way Facebook, Twitter, blogs and websites are going to help non-profit organizations and NGOs. Social media, with its person to person contact and the emphasis on a network of friends and family, is a match made-in-heaven for non-profits as a marketing tool. So, every week I am going to spotlight one non-profit that is making marked strides in harnessing the potential of social media in their outreach efforts. My spotlight is intended as a show of appreciation for what an organization is doing in terms of using social media. I will add some minor suggestions as an end-user, in cases where I have any, and these are meant purely as friendly feedback and I hope they are taken as such.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is this week’s non-profit: Women for Women International. The organization, which has been around since 1993, focuses on helping women in war-torn countries and women survivors of war. The mission statement of the organization ends with “We are changing the world one woman at a time.”

I picked Women for Women International for the spotlight because they have embraced the tools of Internet marketing:

  • They have a dynamic website; they have ‘donate’ and ‘sponsor’ options easily available on their home page.
  • They think in terms of using the Internet to spread the word – they have invited visitors to blog about them; they have made it easy to use their logo.
  • They have a strong Facebook presence with over 50,000 fans and regular updates.
  • They have used YouTube to add visual impact to their website; it helps form a direct connection between the visitor and the cause.
  • They have two blogs – one is notes from the field and the other is to encourage readers to get involved.
  • They have Flickr photos bringing home the reality of the various places where the organization is involved.
  • The series of symbols on their home page is evidence that they are paying attention to the various elements of social media.
  • They are doing well with keywords ‘Women’ and ‘non-profit’ together and ranking high in Google searches.

Here is the Unsolicited Advice Section:

  • I felt that they should make each of the social media buttons open in a new tab to make navigation a little easier.
  • It may help to make their field blogs a little shorter as the text is a little daunting.
  • I ran into some difficulties with their Twitter account but that may have been a temporary glitch.
  • It may be time to discontinue MySpace as it does not seem to have been updated in a while.

These are minor tweaks. Bottom line, kudos to Women for Women International for exploring the potential of social media optimization!