Social Media in Non-Profit Organizations – Important Considerations
- Establish and maintain relationships with community and supporters
- Increase subscribers, donations, and volunteers
- Get found online and manage your online reputation
- Who will manage social media – staff wears many hats
- Marketing with limited budgets
- Maintaining relationships with volunteers, donors, and community
Social Media in Non-Profit Organizations | Benefits
Social media is one of the single most powerful tools available to any company – and that includes the non-profit community.
Nonprofits need to understand that “social media” is not just a marketing tool that needs to be leveraged for their benefit. When you tell emotional, inspiring stories about your impact, your nonprofit will deepen relationships with current donors, entice more people to join your cause, and raise the visibility of your work.
Nonprofits have traditionally worked very hard at building community through events and get-togethers, but social media allows them to build a 24/7 365 days-a-year community of supporters.
Donations, Volunteers, & Awareness
Non-profits have a unique opportunity to use social media to grow and scale their causes and donations online. Consider these statistics:
- Nonprofits share an average of 1.2 Facebook updates per day.
- In an average peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, 15-18% of donations are referred directly from Facebook.
- 84% of Facebook users share to show their support for a cause and highlight issues that are important to them.
- Facebook refers 29.4% of traffic to donation pages on #GivingTuesday.
- $45 million was raised by nonprofits through Facebook fundraisers on Giving Tuesday.
Get Found Online
Though email and websites still rule as non-profit marketing channels, social media is catching up. Email list sizes grew 11% in the past year, Facebook and Twitter followers grew 42% and 37%, respectively. For non-profits, social media is growing 3x faster than email.
There will always be the debate of whether linking content from social media channels to a website impact search engine optimization. Some studies say yes, while others say yes but not as much as people expect. Google, of course, is being tight-lipped about the whole subject.
What isn’t debated, however, is that social profiles have a definite influence on the content of search results. Social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names.
Social Media in Non-Profit Organizations | Challenges
Everyone Is Wearing Too Many Hats
Generally speaking, staff within non-profit organizations often wear multiple hats and as a result, social media is viewed as a low priority in terms of other things that need to be done. And maintaining a social media presence is a lot of work. Having an effective social media strategy in place consists of content that inspires audience engagement, improves community outreach and business partnerships, offers a source of information and education, and even boosts search engine ranking for the company website to be found during Internet searches.
If finding dedicated and knowledgable staff in your organization who can dedicate at least 20-25% of their time solely on implementing and managing your social media presence is a challenge, consider outsourcing the job.
Marketing with Limited Budgets
Let’s face it – non-profit organizations have limited time, tight budgets, and find it difficult to stand out in the crowd. With some creativity and a little innovation, there are ways non-profits can come up with some great ways to market their organizations on a tight budget.
Most businesses (including non-profits) infrequently post content and when they do, it is mostly about themselves and their events. This strategy has proven to be ineffective and often damaging to the brand.
A better approach is to post at least four times a week, solicit supporters to help share your content and messages, and take advantage of social media tools that are available for free or reduced-cost for non-profit organizations.
Implement an Effective Strategy
Most non-profit organizations do not have a documented social media strategy while 74% use social media as a megaphone to announce events and what they are doing rather than seeking out a conversation with followers. This is not an effective strategy.
A basic social media strategy needs to consist of: establishing goals, locating your audience, selecting the right platforms, establishing SEO-friendly profiles, establishing and maintain social media relationships, a balanced mix of content, and measuring / ROI.
Outsourcing your social media to a trusted partner or social media training or coaching are things to consider when it comes to defining an effective strategy.
There’s a lot that goes into being successful on social media – way more work than someone could do as a “side project.” This is especially true in light of all the changes and trends that are cropping up in the social media world all the time. We recommending hiring a dedicated social media manager to manage your accounts, keep your profiles current, stay on top of trends, post great content, manage the conversation, and do a whole lot of experimenting.