Running a Committed, Social Media Savvy Nonprofit Means Getting in and Staying in the Game

Running a Committed, Social Media Savvy Nonprofit Means Getting in and Staying in the Game

The core symbiotic relationship between nonprofits and donor/members - shared vision coupled with financial and volunteer support - is what propels successful organizations forward. In the brave new digital world, staying on top of your social media strategy with a solid game plan will ensure that you continue to cultivate and foster those relationships. Our research reveals three dominant themes; 1. Get committed and start moving. 2. Experiment with a mix of different platforms and strategies. 3. Position your organization for the future.

Exploring these themes in a little more detail can help you go forward confidently. Here we go!

Get Committed With Your Social Media Vision and Plan of Attack

Beth Kanter and Allison Fine have co-written a solid book, The Networked Nonprofit, which aligns with our philosophy here at Steve Peterson & Associates; specifically, get in the game, be diligent and experiment with social media. Experimenting helps you identify what works and what doesn’t, which in turn allows you to fully explore different digital channels and make mid-course corrections that inform new strategies. With some judicious - and here's the important part - persistent tinkering, you'll hit on a handful of winning strategies that can drive successful social media campaigns and in the process both increase donor and member loyalty and help you garner new members.

The importance of commitment and persistence cannot be stressed enough. Spinning up a Facebook page or Twitter profile without both a committed strategic direction aligned to your organization's goals coupled with a plan on how to execute and measure your efforts could result in a healthy dose of sand dumped directly into your donor engine. Creating an online presence just because everyone else is doing it, only to half-heartedly and inconsistently manage posts, replies or promoted events clearly signals to your constituents and potential donors a dearth of digital sophistication. This is an especially egregious oversight when factoring in the increasingly affluent, digitally skilled and socially cause-conscious Millennial and Gen-Xer populations, a combined 126-million strong.

The Future Is Here: Learn and Adapt

Changes in how and when donors engage with nonprofits are forcing organizations to rethink old strategies and quickly apply new ones.

An article published recently by Arjuna Solutions underscores the increasing importance of leveraging social media and technology strategies as they relate to fundraising and member engagement. Their five-point plan includes:

  1. Get online payment processing tools in place now.
  2. Position your organization for the future by focusing a portion of your efforts on capturing and fostering conversations with the burgeoning Millennial market, a group that on average donates $481 per year. The challenge is engaging them on their platforms of choice, all of which are digital.
  3. Leverage multiple online platforms that support your campaigns.
  4. The shift from annual giving to year-round efforts, further emphasizing the importance of a persistent, managed social media presence.
  5. Analytics and reporting, specifically predictive analytics that allow organizations to tailor precise donation ask amounts.

Getting your social media act together doesn't mean everything has to get done at once. It does, however, mean that the journey should start now. Instead of being dragged kicking and screaming into the perceived digital abyss, lean into unknown digital spaces and your own discomfort, work with partners that can support and supplement your efforts and hire digital savvy associates whenever possible.

That whooshing sound you're hearing is the digital revolution in full swing. Get in the game.

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