Our Klout Stars series highlights top influencers and how they got to where they are today.
About: Beth Kanter has worked in the nonprofit sector for 32 years and has been a Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation since 2009. She has worked with nonprofit networks and has trained thousands of nonprofit organizations in all areas around the world on using technology for socially-driven impact. Beth is the author of Beth’s Blog and co-author of the book, The Networked Nonprofit, She is also getting ready to publish her second book, “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” with co-author KD Paine this year.
1.How did you get started in social media?
I started my blog in 2003 as a method to keep my trainer’s notes – not anything special. At the time, I was also a bridge blogger for Global Voices working with Cambodia Bloggers. In 2007, I was the first person to use Twitter for fundraising – I raised money to sponsor a blogger conference in Cambodia. My blog was a way to document what I was learning and my mistakes to avoid making them again. People started commenting and telling me how useful it was. Today, I have a huge readership.
2. What role does social media play in your current job or industry?
Nonprofits are at different levels of embracing social media. There is a segment of early adopters that are getting amazing results like Charity: Water and Momsrising. More and more nonprofits are starting to incorporate social media, but there are challenges. Many nonprofits don’t have a lot of resources in terms of staff and time, so it is hard to invest the time needed for an in-depth presence/strategy. Also, for some organizations, there are cultural issues in the way they work. Being transparent, the participatory nature of social media raise a lot of concerns. With that said, many nonprofits are overcoming those issues and seeing results.
3. What does influence mean to you? Who influences you the most online?
I’m influenced by great thinkers and great work and innovative ideas. Right now, I’m very influenced by Robin Good who is the best content curator on the planet! I am also very interested in Howard Rheingold’s work.
4. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their online presence to the next level?
Follow your passion and be yourself, that’s how I got to where I am. In 2005, I was a bridge blogger for Cambodia for Global Voices. I was connecting with Cambodian bloggers because I was passionate about Cambodia (my 2 kids are adopted from there). Then in 2007, bloggers invited me to keynote their first conference, but they didn’t have resources to get me there. So, I took to my blog and embraced fundraising with Twitter and other tools. So, my passion is for learning and doing good in the world – and social media has helped me combine those qualities.
If anything, I would say the reason I am where I am in addition to following my passion and being myself is because I developed relationships first – and reached out to people to find out how I can be helpful – and not with any eye for getting something in return. I make it a habit never to have my first connection with someone be an ask for them to do something for me.
Connect with Beth on Twitter at @Kanter