In so many blogs, we see posts about how businesses can utilize social media to strengthen their bottom line. But what about non-profits? I recently responded to a HARO query looking for information on how social media can help non-profits connect with donors and it got me thinking about how non-profits can be so different from businesses in the social media sphere. Businesses have agencies or staff tweeting for them. N0n-profits have to rely, often, on volunteers to get their messages out to their constituencies.

Social networking can prove to be invaluable for a non-profit for a variety of reasons, but in this case, let’s just focus on the donors. Here’s my response to the query, along with some additional tips on how non-profits can harness the power of social media smartly and effectively. Feel free to share your tips in the comments!

Take Advantage of Free

Firstly, social networking can be done for free, which is great for non-profits with small budgets who don’t have the resources to do expensive direct mailers, newsletters, or paid advertising. However, it’s important to keep in mind that social media participation does take time and strategy and the best advice I can give is for the non-profit to decide whether or not it has the time to take on a full-on social media campaign to reach donors.

Build a Strategy

If it can, then great! Start out by developing a plan with your staff and determine the key messages you want to send donors. Then, brainstorm ways to convey those messages through different social media platforms. For example, you could provide stories about the constituencies you serve on your Facebook page, which can then inspire a donor to reach out to your organization. Or, you can provide links to an online donation center in your Twitter profile. The possibilities are really endless.

Put A Face On Your Organization

Remember, social media is about putting a face on the non-profit organization and the people it helps, so, if possible, posting photos of past events held by the non-profit and including real-life stories from the people the organization directly helped them, can go a long way in actually touching prospective donors. That tug at the heartstrings can be what propels people to donate.

Be Consistent

Also, while you’re developing strategy, take the time to make a quick style guide so that messaging is consistent across all platforms, which can make it much easier to manage if you’re working with a variety of volunteers. If you can, delegate the role of social media coordinator to a single volunteer who is reliable, personable, and internet-savvy.

Empower Volunteers

If you can’t donate the time to social media, look to harness the power of buzz by interacting when you can. Sometimes, word of mouth can spread like wildfire on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Empower your volunteers to start little campaigns of their own on their own social networking profiles, however, bear in mind that when you trust your organization to your volunteers, you also risk your brand image. Make sure you are clear about what should and shouldn’t be put out there for donors to see.

Bridge the Gap

Social media is also valuable because it allows for many non-profits to reach donors instantly and provide an avenue for online donation. The key is to make social media a bridge between the donor and the organization so that it’s easy to contribute to your organization. Make sure that you’re clear about how to send a donation on your social media profiles or even provide links to where payments can be made securely online. By making it easy, it increases the chance of your organization getting the valuable funds it needs.

Strengthen Community

Also, look to connect with community leaders, local businesses, other organizations, volunteers, and past donors on your social media profiles. Sometimes, an organization can get so caught up in following prospective donors that it forgets to participate in what social media is really about: community. Don’t neglect the people who have helped to make your organization a success.

Do you have any other tips or strategies for non-profits? Feel free to share!

Enhanced by Zemanta

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *