Whether you agree with Thomas Friedman's views on global warming, the economy or politics, you should check out his Saturday column if you manage communication activity for a non-profit.
As usual, Friedman is trying to make a macro statement about the world economy (or the U.S. economy, in this case). But in this column, he makes his point by highlighting how technology is making it possible and remarkably affordable for cash-strapped communicators to produce professional-grade creative.
I've long been a fan of sites like istockphoto, which offers a very cheap fix for ugly PowerPoint presentations, and FreePlay Music, which provides cheap (or free) music for videos. But Friedman points out a few more. For sounds and music, there's Audio Jungle. At Voices.com, you "bid" out your script to a universe of ready voice talent at a fraction of traditional costs. If your team is the "online collaboration" type, you can use Box.net to share content, scripts, drafts, etc., so you don't have to email everything to a large group every time you change a word.
There are two big omissions from the column:
1. I want to see the video they produced, so I can judge whether the options Friedman outlines really produced a video that I'd be proud of.
2. He failed to mention that all the good, cheap tools in the world won't make up for poor messaging, bad taste or the inability to tell a good story. Fortunately for me (and you), non-profits still need people to pull all these cheap and easy tools together into something worth watching or reading.