TUESDAY TRENDS: NON-PROFITS AND COLLABORATION

Each week I pick a trend related to non-profit work and leading youth to generate conversation over current or coming trends with Millennials & Digital Natives.

COLLABORATION AND CROWD SOURCING: DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND

This week’s Tuesday Trends is more of a contemplation than a resource. I feel the contemplation is important and I will park it in the recesses of your mind hoping to pay it forward in the lives of the families you reach out to. I don’t need to convince you that collaboration and crowd sourcing are woven into the culture. There is an abundance of crowd sourcing and collaboration platforms out there and chances are that you are already using online tools and social networking conduits to get things done in your mission.

What’s really at stake is the philosophy behind it!

CROWD SOURCING AND COLLABORATION BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER ACROSS MULTIPLE PLATFORMS AND PLACES

Twenty years ago content was delivered across a thin offering of channels. The big two twenty years ago: TV & Radio. To get an idea or message out, beyond print media and grassroots community engagement, you had to be extremely well funded and organized to create global awareness through TV & Radio. Today, you can watch TV when you want and even publish content through local and online media channels targeting the same crowd.

Today, I can escalate a cause, idea, or message to the entire world on the back of nearly free. This means that anyone, from just about anywhere can be heard and championed.

CROWDSOURCING AND COLLABORATION IS POWERED BY IDEAS AND CAUSES

New media has made the world smaller and given voice to people in ways that have helped topple dictatorships and bring consequence to injustice. It’s truly amazing. When a person has a message they can band people together quickly who share the same concerns and create tremendous energy and action around global messaging powered by social media.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOUTH WORKERS AND THE CHURCH OR NON PROFITS.

You have to understand the cultural power behind ideas and causes. Millennials and Digital Natives are more aware of global pain than ever before. Millennials and Digital Natives have choices when it comes to the energy they spend and the ideas they will convey when it comes to voice. Organizations that are unfriendly to collaboration and crowd sourcing are going to struggle in new media. If your organization operates with a broadcast mentality where the message is single sourced and singularly constructed, you will lose the interest and attention of Millennials and Digital Natives. Because your message is closed and your ideas have no entry point for participation and activation, Millennials and Digital Natives will see your organization as lazy, self-centered, and quite honestly… out of touch.

This mentality translates as a closed system where ideas are preconceived and delivery is prefabricated by gatekeepers.

THE TYPICAL MINISTRY UNINTENTIONALLY OPERATES WITH A PHILOSOPHY OF OLD MEDIA.

We decide what issues matter. We decide how they will be conveyed. We determine the action.

Millennials and Digital Natives think: Why would I want to align my energy around an idea, effort, and action I cannot construct or contribute to? If you have staff who go home and consider deeply the idea that they would rather be a volunteer so they can be freed from the policies, procedures, and process… you probably have a very closed system.

Attendance is not collaboration. – “Come to this project, hear me talk about this, and listen to how I think we will tackle this” is the operating model of old media. You only have a few chips to play with this style of communication before you lose participation.

Do not predesign the answers and the questions. – Collaboration and crowd sourcing presents the problem and constructs the solution around the investment of the crowd. Old media fears relinquishing control and empowering voices in the end product because there is no assurance of payback to the system. Millennials and Digital Natives loathe the system. They can smell a self-serving and centralized system within a mile away.

In crowdsourcing and collaboration the idea is the heart and the community is the brains and muscle. – People want to think about the issues, have conversation, and create solutions that are intrinsic to their gifts, skills, talents, and potential. You can no longer expect to tell people how they will use those things and what they will use them on.

Even if your organization is attempting to use social media and be relevant in content delivery they will still need to check their philosophy of new media use. Your church, mission, or non-profit endeavor must be willing to share in the construction of solutions. I am convinced that Millennials and Digital Natives are leaving the church not because they don’t love Jesus or care about being on mission in their world but instead they have found the philosophy of cause awareness, construction, and activation to be antiquated, closed, and self serving in the church. I don’t like saying that but I think that it is worth saying.

Not getting this and changing the system and the delivery philosophy will slowly peel people away who view the church as one of the last places to get real stuff done. Get this and you will have earned the right to be heard on other things.

Your thoughts and feedback are alway appreciated. Leave a comment.

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