It's probably one of the most frequently used tools to help spread the word, and many agencies, quite simply, aren't taking advantage of the opportunity.
I'm talking, of course, about podcasts - essentially online radio shows that provide a forum for discussion about a variety of topics. (Brief note - I co-host a podcast about comics and popular culture). Podcasts are portable (usually created as a sole MP3 file), can be played anywhere, and thankfully, are relatively low cost, with many of the tools available via open source software.
Thankfully, there are several podcasts which focus solely on non-profits and the social good, and are great ways to build collaboration and community. Assembling a podcast is relatively easy....but there is a definite learning curve to the process. It's one of the few tools that is readily available, and can help an organization expand their reach outside the greater Chicago area.
But what goes into a podcast? Although there are plenty of articles about how to start a podcast (like this one from NTEN), there are some basics to consider when (and if) you plan to start one:
- Sound Recording/Editing Software - on a basic level, you will need some kind of recording/editing software in order to capture your own voice or with others. Thankfully, there is an open source solution called Audacity - there is a bit of a learning curve, but you can find great information via Google.
- Microphones/headsets - this is one of the few expenses that you will need; thankfully, most microphone/headset pieces cost between $20 and $40.
- Conference Call/Recording Software - If you're recording with others, you might all want to consider getting accounts with Skype, and also consider getting one of the many plug-ins that allow you to record Skype calls.
- Hosting - this is going to be one of the more critical expenses, since different hosts offer different plans. Services like Libsyn, Podomatic, and Blog Talk Radio offer a variety of bells and whistles - you will need to do some comparison shopping, but this is something where spending a small amount of money can lead to some positive benefits.
- Music - There are many sites that offer free or close to free public domain music. ("Close to free" means that if you mention the artist in your show, you have their permission to use). Simply Google "public domain music".
Is this an easy, simple solution? No, but for many social change agents, non-profits, and other mission-driven organizations....this is a great chance to engage a highly underutilized channel.