For starters, I’m thinking I ought to change my masthead photo back to winter scene. Perhaps I jinxed us here in mid-Michigan. Thought it was safe to think spring this late in March. But alas Mother Nature has decided otherwise as we’re buried in 8″ inches of snow today. UGh. Just had to rant about that a bit.
Now, onto the subject at hand … why non-profits NEED to be using social media. I’ve been doing a bit of social media coaching with a handful of small businesses and recently have been contacted by a local non-profit organization to assist them in their marketing efforts through the use of social media. I’ve been enjoying the work with small businesses, but admittedly I’m even more excited to help non-profits figure out how to leverage social media to further their causes and grow both their volunteer and donor bases. As I launch into coaching of non-profits, I’ve been gathering some thoughts (& research) about why charity organizations are missing huge opportunities if not utilizing social media.
Here are the top 3 reasons why non-profits need to be using social media.
Reason #1 – Tell your story
Facebook, Twitter and blogging all provide the chance to spread the word about your organization and the positive impact your services are having on the community. Share success stories of clients, volunteers, staff members, advocates and donors. Start the story with a blog and spread it through Facebook and Twitter or go one step further using video and spread via YouTube.
In digging for a good example of a non-profit doing a good job of telling its story through social media, Goodwill Industries Facebook page is a shining example. They’re sharing stories of client success, outstanding employees and generous donors.
Reason #2 – Connect with volunteers, supporters & advocates
Social media makes it easier than ever to find and connect with people who are believers in your cause. A quick search on any of the social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube — will bring up a slew of people involved or engaged in your cause, locally and beyond. Follow or Like them, they’ll like you back and you have begun building your social media network.
Reason #3 – Have a conversation
Social media is all about conversation. It provides an ideal opportunity to converse with those who are believers in your organization/cause and tap into their network of friends, as well. By asking questions and engaging input, organizations can generate valuable comments, feedback and discussion. Talk regularly with this interested audience and they will talk back. And talking frequently will get you into more news feeds, which will spread your story even further.
These three reasons to use social media are starting points, next steps involve further growing your donor base and providing additional opportunities for giving. How to do that is the subject of another post. Stay tuned!