Why @knightfdn uses social media to become a better grantmaker

Can social media help foundations become better grantmakers? What do tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs mean for philanthropy?

This morning, Knight Foundation participated via Twitter in a session that brought together a group of foundations to explore these questions. The session, “Good Grantmaking: What’s Social Media Got to Do With It? was hosted by Philanthropy New York.

Two of the key questions discussed: Why would a foundation use social media? And, how is social media helping some foundations do their work better?

Here at Knight Foundation, we use social media as a way of building the best networks of partnerships and grantees that we possibly can. We see it is an integral part of the foundation’s overall communications strategy to engage and inform people about our work. To that end, we use a variety of tactics to communicate with various audiences, including our website, blog and Twitter feed.

We also believe social media is helping us do our work better. Specifically, it allows for more targeted outreach and helps us facilitate customer service. For example, we can respond to questions from people wondering about deadlines for contests like the Knight News Challenge and the Knight Arts Challenge. It also allows us build credibility with existing networks that already use tools like Twitter, such as grantees in our journalism and media innovation program.

Using Twitter also helps the foundation cover events live. Last week we livetweeted a session on media and journalism grant making at the Council on Foundation’s fall conference in San Francisco, Calif.

At Knight Foundation, we hope we can continue to find ways to use the latest online tools to help build and sustain informed and engaged communities. We look forward to sharing more about what we learn along the way.