Strategic Use of Flickr by Non-Profits



June 05, 2007

In the last month I've noticed a number of NGO/NPO's have started to use one of the early Web 2.0 poster children Flickr. Unlike many of the other social networking sites out there, Flickr's all about the photos. You can't upload movies, write notes, or stick something on someone's wall like you can in newer tools like Facebook. However, if what you want is an interface for propagating images, Flickr is still one of the nicer ones. I started using Flickr in 2005 largely as a means of keeping track of people who I had met at the Web of Change conference that fall. It has proven very effective in that way as I can share private photos with family & friends that I don't want to share with the rest of the world. It is also great because the photos that I do want to share I am allowed to clearly choose the license that I am publishing them under. I have published blog postings in the past about my experiences with this.

I got a message about two weeks ago that got me thinking about this again, "You are The Sierra Club's newest contact!". I wrote back asking why I was contacted, but haven't gotten a reply yet. It must have been because of some of the environmental images I have posted in the past (I've uploaded pictures of cyber trash, and a few on wind power in the past). In any case it got me thinking about other organizations that are using this tool for online advocacy. Thought it was worth putting together a little list:

The aim of all of these is to help build public support and participation in the mission & campaigns of these organizations. Some are more effective than others, but this is certainly a good way to gather supporters and raise awareness of an organization's concerns.

If you're in Toronto on July 24th (2007), and are interested in learning more check out Web 2.0 and Your Organization.

About The Author

Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.