- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Like many in today’s social media dictionary, the term “podcast” can be a confusing, even intimidating word. Many ask, what is a podcast? I know what you think, it sounds like something an alien space ship might do, but believe me, its not. To clear the air, a podcast is Web 2.0’s alternative to radio, just as YouTube acts as an alternative to TV or movies. And like all Web 2.0 applications, podcasts are democratizing media, giving broadcasting power to the people, or in our case, to non-profits everywhere.
The term “podcast” is a conglomerate term, a combination of iPod and broadcast. The original idea was that tech savvy entrepreneurs could create broadcasts similar to radio programs (or TV programs if you are video capable) that listeners could download to their iPods and play on their commute to work, during their workout etc. But the truth is you don’t need an iPod to listen to a podcast as you can download to your computer, your iPhone or burn podcasts onto CDs. In fact, the connection between a podcast and an iPod is so weak that many have defined a podcast without the iPod and instead with the backronym “Personal On Demand broadCAST”.
For non-profits, a podcast can be extremely useful. For one, the portable audio feature allows those who don’t have time to read your website to stay engaged with your organizations work, without taking extra time out of their day. This can allow for much broader outreach to your target community. Podcasts also allow interested patrons to stay updated, as they can be set to automatically download when the host uploads its program, usually on a scheduled weekly or daily basis.
What’s more, it is none to difficult to get exposure to people interested in your subject, as podcast aggregators like iTunes and PodcastAlley allow listeners to access your cast with a user-friendly search platform, making your program easily accessible to those interested.
Most importantly, however, is that while radio and TV time can be far to expensive for non-profits to buy, podcasting is absolutely 100% free! All you need is a computer, a microphone and a couple of free online tools:
- Audacity: Audacity is a downloadable program which allows you to record and edit your podcast before you upload it to your website. You can add background music, cut and paste, and even add effects.
- Lame MP3 Encoder: As podcasts need to be in mp3 format, Lame MP3 Encoder allows you to make usable files out of the WAV files created in Audacity.
- Odeo: Odeo is a hosting website where you can upload your podcast to the internet and turn it in an RSS Feed / URL which can be used on your website or in a podcast aggregator. You can also record your podcast on Odeo, though is has no editing features.
Don’t be intimidated, a podcast is a great way to spread your message and build up support for your cause. If you keep your casts short and interesting you might well develop a following, allowing for greater outreach and success for your non profit.
- Tech Soup has a much more in depth explanation of how to create and broadcast your podcast.
- Getting Attention shows you 9 steps to create a great non profit podcast
- 09NTC Nonprofit Radio: How to Make Podcasts That Promote Your Brand and Engage Supporters
- 501c3cast is a popular podcast designed to help non profits
- The Craigslist Foundation has podcasts from the Non-Profit Bootcamp
Let us know if there are free online tools you prefer and your experiences with podcasts!