David B. Crowley's blog

7 Benefits for Nonprofits Using Social Media

Wednesday I had a chance to present a "Social Media 101" workshop for nonprofits at Google's Cambridge offices. The event, coordinated by HandsOn Tech Boston, was well-attended by nonprofit professionals eager to put the relatively new social media tools to use in service of their missions. Before delving into the mechanics of how to read Facebook Insights or get tweeting, I felt it was important to share how social media can help nonprofits achieve our goals. I came up with six important benefits we have found using social media at Social Capital Inc. that I thought could apply to many other organizations as well. I came up with a seventh key bonus point while writing this. Here is the list:Read more

11 Must-Read Articles on Social Capital, #Networks and Wellness

I recently heard from a friend who is assuming a committee leadership role that led her to ask me for my "Top 10" reads on social capital and civic engagement topics. Her duties have her particularly interested in how these social topics intersect with health and wellness. It's been a little while since I've curated some of my favorite articles, so I eagerly set to the task of culling through social capital articles that might be useful for someone interested in wellness outcomes. Having done so, it seemed to make sense to share this roundup more widely by posting it here on my blog. By the time I had a chance to publish this, the top ten became eleven. Happy reading!Read more

3 Ways Foundations Can Leverage Grantee Networks for #infoneeds and Other Conference Notes

Alberto Ibargüen - 2/11/13 - Miami, Florida - Photo by Patrick Farrell
Alberto Ibargüen
2/11/13 - Miami, Florida
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Social Capital and Resilience

The link between social capital and building up resilience in a community is a theme that has been addressed in several places recently. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote an article on the topic in a recent edition of The New Yorker, which I came across via this NPR story. Klinenberg talks about the Chicago heat wave of 1995, in which two adjacent neighborhoods experienced dramatically different results, despite similar socioeconomic status. Auburn Gresham, with small businesses and other social offerings that encouraged elderly residents to maintain social connections, had only a fraction of the heat related deaths suffered in nearby Englewood.Read more

2013 Social Capital Priorities and How You Can Help

Giving Garden Community Volunteer Project

Data is the top philanthropy buzzword for 2012 according to one recent article, so I should probably provide some data to encourage you to make a 2012 tax deductible contribution by December 31. We definitely rounded up some impressive data about our impact over the past ten years, as we celebrated our 10th anniversary.  But celebrating our 10th also got us thinking a lot about what we want to accomplish in the next ten years. So I'd like to use my final SCI blog post of the year to tell you about our direction, and ask you to join us as we work on the following priorities: 

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7 Ways Social Media Can Enhance the Soul of the Community

I paused to capture the first snowflakes falling on the red wooden footbridge, trying to highlight the contrast with somber grays and browns of the woods on this brisk first day of December. I'd share the photo as part of my Foursquare checkin, pushing it out to Facebook and Twitter as well. Such an action is now a regular part of my walks by the pond near our home; but stepping back, I can see how social media can be a powerful tool for those of us interested in the soul of our community.Read more

Tech for Engagement: 7 Skills Needed

How can technology be leveraged to increase community engagement, and ultimately help transform our democracy? Building on its important Tech for Engagement grant funding, the Knight Foundation convened a Technology for Engagement Summit at MIT earlier this year. Fortunately, for those of us interested in the topic who didn't have a chance to participate, we can read about the summit highlights through this report released earlier this month. This report captures some of the innovative Tech for Engagement initiatives and discusses some of the challenges in building the field. Read more

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Social Capital...and Boost the Economy!

Last year's National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) report highlighted the link between civic health and lower unemployment figures. This was certainly exciting news for an organization dedicated to increasing social capital and civic engagement. Now, the new NCoC report, Civic Health and Unemployment II: The Case Builds, released this week in conjunction with today's NCoC conference reaffirms the civic engagement and jobs link, and digs deeper into the dynamics that explain the relationship. The report highlights two aspects of civic health that seem to be particularly important for building community resilience during this difficult economic time: 1) social cohesion, the extent to which citizens trust one another and have a local network of friends, and 2) nonprofit density, that is, the presence of a thriving nonprofit sector.Read more

Practical Ways to Build Social Capital in Communities: 10 Handy Links

Ever been all fired up at a conference, eager to act on the ideas and inspiration created by the event? But then there comes the next day back at the office, and you're not so sure how to start taking practical steps to act on the inpsiration. Well, the increasingly clear relationship between civic health and lower unemployment rates being discussed today at the annual National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is sure to have folks eager to find ways to increase civic health. In particular, we are likely to seek ways to foster social cohesion and promote a vibrant nonprofit sector that can help create a community climate conducive to job creation and retention. In a nutshell, we'll be looking for practical ways people and organizations can help to build social capital. Well, that is in our sweetspot at Social Captital Inc. (SCI)! So we've put together a list of links to resources that provide practical steps people can take to build social capital. We start with our own articles, derived from our ten years of community building experience, followed by other links from around the web:Read more

Social Capital Lessons from the Sunday Globe

Volunteers creating a community garden

Feeling stressed by having too much to do? Maybe you should think about signing up to volunteer, or spend some time helping a neighbor with some yard work. Though this suggestion may seem rather counterintuitive, new research cited in Sunday's Boston Globe Ideas column, "How to make time expand", supports this notion. The study by three business school professors indicated that "Those who donated time, spent time doing tasks for others," felt more "time affluent" than those who wasted time or spent it on themselves. The article explains research that shows feeling time affluent is a key factor in happiness, and it is linked more to our perception of time and how we use it, as opposed to actually having free time.Read more

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