At my house, we love Craigslist. We found much of our kids’ outdoor play equipment on Craigslist and have unloaded a lot of our stuff in the process of home renovations, too. We even found some people to dig up the bushes in our front yard and carry them away, for free, on Craigslist!
But, until I read this post, I’d never thought about how nonprofit organizations might use Craigslist for their work, besides, I guess, as a classifieds section for employment listings.
And then the kind of genius of it struck me. I mean, yes, so most of the people going to Craigslist are either looking for a laugh at some of the “Missed Encounters” posts or scouting out a good deal on some used furniture, but so many eyes see the site (more than 50 million visitors/month, total), and it’s free and so easy to use, that it makes a lot of sense for our work, as well. In addition to posting events, which is a great idea, as discussed in the post above, here are my thoughts about how nonprofits might use Craigslist for advocacy.
Please, if you have any experiences with using Craigslist in your advocacy work, share it in the comments. Or, if you have questions or concerns about how it might apply, I want to hear those too. And if you have a Dora the Explorer Magic House that you’re willing to make a deal on…well, we should talk.
There are times when, for the purposes of a specific campaign, you have to extend your reach, and you’re kind of in “cold call” territory. I’ve actually had to get Yellow Pages for some small Kansas towns before to start calling people. Posting something on the Craigslist community section, under ‘groups’ or ‘politics’ or ‘events’ seems like a better way to do that, at least for anything that you’re not trying to keep secret.
I found a couple of postings on our local Craigslist of people looking for volunteer opportunities in nonprofit work, and an organization could both solicit volunteers and respond to those who are reaching out through this medium.
You know, sometimes grassroots community groups need used furniture. And computers. And some of the other stuff that people offer for free (or cheap) on Craigslist. Sure, it would be great if we had the budgets to buy the best of everything but, um, we don’t.
At least here locally, there is a NPO forum where individuals working in nonprofit organizations share ideas, resources, and questions with each other. There are obviously a lot of possibilities here related to coalition-building and campaign development, that warrant further attention, especially because the threads seem to move quickly and attract considerable discussion.
When combined with promotion of events and recruitment of potential staff, it seems like there are a lot of possibilities for nonprofit advocates on Craigslist–admit it, you’re spending your lunch hour looking for a rug on there anyway, so you could work up a post, too!