2 min Read
April 28, 2011

Three lessons for nonprofits from the royal wedding

Big Duck

What’s that I hear rolling toward me? A bandwagon? Fun! Let me jump right on it!

As you’ve probably already heard, there’s a pretty big wedding taking place in the UK tomorrow (no, not mine; that’s in August). So, inspired by the insane amounts of media coverage, my own unexpected nostalgia for dear old Britain and this blog post about why chief executives should watch the royal wedding (well worth a read), I thought I’d share a few thoughts about what nonprofits can learn from Will and Kate’s nuptials. So sit down with a cup of tea and a crumpet, and enjoy:

  1. If the British monarchy can open up and use social media, there’s no excuse for your organization not to.
    Apparently, the British monarchy has been on social media for a while, and it’s using its Facebook page and YouTube channel; Prince Charles’s Twitter account; and a dedicated royal wedding website and live blog to keep people involved in the wedding. If an institution as big, old, and conservative as the British royal family is happy to open up, share, and ask open questions and hear negative responses in public, maybe it’s time your organization started doing that too?
  2. Social media can help make your big events more inclusive.
    Even though the guest list is no doubt huge, not everyone in the UK can attend the big event itself. But the royal household seems to be doing a pretty good job of helping people who want to feel part of it get involved in other ways. On YouTube, they’ve released an invitation to the live-stream of the wedding and started a video guest book of user-generated messages to the couple. There’s also a dedicated Facebook page where people can share stories about how they’re celebrating, and a Facebook event so people can show they’re “attending” and get updates about the day. Oh, and the royals are giving everyone in the UK the day off work, too, which helps.

    Your annual gala and other big events probably aren’t quite as big as the royal wedding (and you can’t give people the day off to attend), but you can still use social media to help individual donors who can’t attend feel engaged and involved in them. You might share “exclusives” about high-profile attendees with your social media supporters in the run up to the event. On the day, you could live-stream speeches or entertainment, or share live updates from your Chief Executive or high-profile supporters on Twitter (hat tip to Daniel Buckey from Food Bank for New York City for that suggestion).

  1. Is your donation page wedding gift friendly?
    To avoid getting ten thousand identical toasters from their adoring public, Will and Kate have set up a charitable gift fund to which they’ve asked people to donate to support the couple’s selected charities. The nice looking website makes donating and choosing where your donation goes as easy as possible.

    How does your donation page measure up? Is it easy for people to navigate and to understand how to make a gift in someone else’s honor? Making your donation page as simple and user-friendly as possible may be the difference between a couple “registering” with your organization and going elsewhere.

Anything else you think we can learn that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.