Winning the Internet

Online vs offline: Finding balance with Mujeres Unidas Y Activas

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

Mujeres Unidas Y ActivasNew media and social media tools can be powerful, but they can also be time consuming and expensive. This is why I’m a huge proponent of developing one comprehensive strategic communications plan or marketing plan for your organization that includes both online and offline tools. Lizandra Vidal posted about this earlier this week. Yes Twitter and Facebook are great tools, but if you’ve got a small staff, there might be better ways you could be using your time.

Case in point is Mujeres Unidas Y Activas’ Caring Hands program. I’ve been working with the Caring Hands program for about three months now, as part of the New Media Mentors program. We tailor each mentorship to the organization and we decided to focus on drafting and executing a marketing plan designed to increase the number of folks interested in hiring a worker. We were both surprised to find the plan we came up with was only about 40% new media and almost 60% offline efforts.

A quick intro to Caring Hands

The Caring Hands Workers Association is a program of Mujeres Unidas Y Activas—a Bay Area grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women with a double mission of promoting personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice. Caring Hands specifically focuses on providing job training and placing graduates in housecleaning, childcare and eldercare positions. The program has two full-time employees that do everything from online communications to training the women.

One integrated marketing plan

We decided to use a traditional marketing plan to structure the mentorship because Caring Hands expressed interest in increasing the number of jobs available to women in the association. To do that, we needed to find a way to attract new employers. We started by drafting a marketing plan together over several weeks (we’ll be working to execute the plan in the coming months).

When we got to the tactics section of the plan, we came up with dozens of ideas that ranged from branded uniforms for housecleaners to Facebook ads. MUA considered everything and narrowed the list down to the tactics that they believe will give them the best return on their time investment. Though we weren’t expecting it, more than half of the tactics that made it to the final list were offline tactics.

This is exactly why it is important to consider both online and offline options together. This is also why I don’t recommend social media plans that are created in isolation. Had we limited ourselves to online options only, we would have ended up with a very different plan—quite probably one that was more time intensive and would lead to weaker results.

If you’re interested in writing a marketing plan for your organization, check out this post for more info.


About Melissa Foley

Melissa is the Director of Training and Mentoring for Netroots Foundation and New Media Mentors. She aims to use her MBA + nonprofit background to teach organizations to use new media tools strategically.

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