Can an antiquated organization use social media to become relevant to younger generations? The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) may soon give us an answer. They’ve started to create a presence on Twitter and Facebook, and promise that more is on the way.
First of all, what is a community league? From Wikipedia:
A community league is an organization of community residents who represent their community at large in communication with a municipal government. Community leagues are organized to provide such services as providing recreational opportunities to the community, addressing municipal issues which address the community directly, and keeping community residents up-to-date on happenings within the community.
Edmonton was the first city in Canada to adopt the idea of a community-based organization, according to the EFCL history page. The Crestwood Community League was formed way back in 1917! Today, there are 150 community leagues under the EFCL umbrella.
So far, EFCL have created a Twitter profile and a Facebook page. They are “slowly slipping [their] toe into the waters of social media.” I contacted Michael Janz, EFCL’s Marketing Director, to ask for his thoughts. He quickly corrected my initial assessment of the organization:
“I would challenge the notion that EFCL is ‘antiquated’ – I think ‘established’ is a better word. EFCL has been here for 80 years. People know what it is and what EFCL can accomplish.”
He did concede that the younger generations are much less familiar with the EFCL however, which is what I meant by “antiquated”. The organization’s main membership drive kicks off in September, and the goal this year is to have a more coordinated promotional effort, making use of both traditional and social media. Michael told me that the EFCL is getting on Twitter and Facebook now to be prepared. They are “moving to where the puck is going”, Michael said.
I asked Michael about the challenges EFCL faces with adopting social media, and learned there were other, bigger challenges: “As of March 2008, only 50% of our leagues had websites. We’re now up to 70%.” Clearly having a web presence is an important first step before making the jump to Twitter! EFCL’s mandate is to serve the community leagues, and helping them get websites and email addresses setup is the focus for now. Social media tools will follow.
The first community league to follow that trajectory is Crestwood. They have a regularly updated website, full of information for members. Recently, they joined Twitter and have been posting an interesting mix of tweets – some community-specific, some related to Edmonton as a whole.
I think it’s great that EFCL is mindful of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools and services. They’re fortunate to have someone like Michael on board. I look forward to following their progression in the world of social media, first in September for the big kick off, and beyond.