The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media for Non Profits

Apr 19

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media for Non Profits

The increase in the amount of non-profits and the decrease in government funding means that there is more competition than ever for the hearts and resources of your target audience. Set yourself apart using a social media strategy that effectively communicates the activities your non profit is involved in, and shows how donor dollars are being used.

Here are a few Do’s and Dont’s for non profits starting out with social media:

DO

  • Use Social Media to raise support for your cause
    Every Facebook “Like” or Twitter “Follower” is a person who believes in your organization. Ask these supporters to raise more awareness and support for the cause within their own social circles.
  • Increase Advocacy
    There are many needs within our local communities, but often times they go without notice. Your non profit can help raise awareness of these issues by sharing stories and statistics of the impact the issue is having on your community. Pull at the heart strings of your followers and remind them of why they support your cause in the first place.
  • Improve Relationships with Donors
    Let your donors know how their dollars are being spent and the impact that their contribution is having on their community. Share success stories, goals that have been achieved, awards, etc. Or, feature the donors themselves and recognize their generosity.
  • Trade social media posts for sponsorships.
    Social causes often have larger social media communities than businesses because of the passion and positive change that many nonprofits stand for. As a result, non profits also have a larger community to broadcast to. Take advantage of this by offering to promote businesses on your social media profiles in exchange for sponsorship dollars. But be careful how you craft these messages and how often you post them! Ask your community to support you by supporting the local businesses instead of simply broadcasting a sales message. They whole key is to make all of your posts conversational.
  • Raise awareness for events
    Events are one of the main fundraising strategies used by nonprofits. Raise awareness for events with teaser posts of preperations being made, celebrities in attendence, prizes being given away. But don’t stop at just promoting the event. Post during and after to show your community that the event lived up to the hype, and they are more likely to attend your next event!
  • Screen Potential Volunteers
    This is fairly new and unchartered territory for nonprofits but is worth the extra effort. These days people share thousands of pieces of information about themselves through social media every year. If your volunteers are working closely with your clients – especially children – you should be aware of the portrait they paint of themselves online. Often this information can give you a clear idea of whether or not the volunteer is the right fit for the role they are requesting.
  • Interact With the Community You Serve
    Don’t just focus on the donors and volunteers when it comes to social media – focus on those your nonprofit aims to serve as well. Use your presence online to gather comments and suggestions on your services. You may find more community needs that you can address or bring to the attention of another agency.

DON’T

  • Spread Yourself To Thin
    Developing a strong social media presence takes commitment, and often nonprofit organizations are understaffed and underpaid. Although a strong social media presence can be extremely lucrative, don’t pursue it unless you have the manpower – whether it be a trained staff member or volunteer, or outsourced to a community management company (Social Mea provides training & community management services). The organizations that are thriving online are spending on average about 6 hours every week on their social media efforts, so keep this in mind.
  • Don’t Always Ask For Money
    I give the same advice to my small business clients – don’t use social media to sell, use social media to build relationships. The same concept applies here. Use social media to build relationships with your donors and gain credibility. The occasional request for funding is fine, but always keep it transparent and conversational.
  • Don’t Only Use Social Media to Promote Events
    I see this a lot with the non profits I work with. They only update their followers when there are events going on because they think that social media is a source of news. Wrong! It’s a source of two way communication. You should constantly be communicating with your followers, asking them questions, providing them with valuable content, so that when you do have an event they are more apt to support it and attend. Share stories of the changes you are making so they will know why they should attend your event.
  • Don’t forget to respect the privacy of your clients and donors
    Everyone loves a photo of a volunteer reading to a child or a donor handing over a large contribution. But make sure when you are snapping photos to share online that the subjects of your photos are comfortable with it – especially the parents of children.

Bottom line: be creative, be respectful, and be conversational. If you follow these few guidelines, the opportunities for your non profit on social media are endless!


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Based out of Orlando, FL, Social Mea is a division of mêa|SOLUTIONS and services clients throughout North America. Social Mea (pronounced “may-uh”) will help you navigate the waters of social media through a variety of services from consulting, Facebook/Twitter and other social media account set up, community management, conversation monitoring, content creation, custom add-ons and more.

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