5 Basics to Maximize Social Media for Nonprofit Fundraising & Supporter EngagementFundraising, Fundraising Services, Lottery fundraising, News, Non-profit fundraising, Online Fundraising, Philanthropy, Telephone Fundraising | Desi Cabrera | May 17, 2012 at 12:01 am
Social media continues to grow and has become a fundamental nonprofit fundraising and supporter engagement strategy for many causes. I have often written about different platforms and tips on how they can best be used to build on your donor base and increase brand exposure. The latest Blackbaud Index released in April reflected overall online fundraising revenue results of 5.15% for the reporting period. Clearly, this is a growing percentage but this is merely the beginning and we are going to see many changes as this fundraising channel continues to develop.
If your nonprofit is just beginning its venture into social media or if you are looking to change your current course, it’s important to ensure that some basics are considered to maximize the results from your social media marketing efforts.
- Start with a plan. Social media, like any other traditional channel requires a plan. There is a lot more involved than simply arbitrarily tweeting or making status updates on Facebook. Key elements of a plan are included in the points that follow but you may want to first research the online activities of organizations you see as being a) close to your existing brand; or b) that represent what you hope to be. As you are researching, keep asking yourself “would this work for my organization and, if so how”? This research will give you the basis you need to proceed to 2) Select the Platforms.
- Select the Platforms. Armed with the knowledge of your research, you can now think about your target supporter demographic(s) and what key profile identifiers define them. It’s important to understand who you want to reach and you can begin with understanding your current donors/supporters. You might want to focus on the platforms with the largest reach especially if you have limited resources to allocate to social media. You may want to stick with the top three being Facebook (845 million active users), LinkedIn (150 million active users) and Twitter (127 million active users). Source: Mashable. Don’t discount Pinterest – it’s coming on strong and is proving to have staying power and effective for nonprofits as its key user is woman.
- Set (realistic) Goals. The success of your marketing plan can only be determined if you are measuring your progress and comparing it to the pre-set goals set in advance. Goals can be as basic as the number of Facebook ‘Likes’ on your fan page or the number of followers on Twitter. However, some platforms, such as Facebook have additional reporting metrics (also known as ‘Insights’) including ‘Total Reach’, ‘People Talking About This’. There are other advanced metrics you may consider tracking like referral traffic to your site and donation conversion rates that can be accessed through online tools like Google Analytics, for example.
- Create a Schedule. There are many tasks associated with maintaining a social network presence and engaging supporters and donors. From regular tweeting on Twitter to Facebook status updates and sharing information. It’s important to create a schedule that outlines frequency, time of day and type of content that will be shared and on which platforms. Not only is it important to keep the schedule realistic based on the resources you have available to dedicate to the tasks, but it’s also important to adhere to the schedule ensuring you are maximizing your efforts to achieve the desired results. There are free online tools that can help manage and monitor your Twitter activity like Hootsuite and TweetDeck where you can schedule Tweets, track your reach and even learn your most effective Tweeting times
- Divide & Conquer. Depending on how many resources you can allocate to social media marketing, you may want to spread out the tasks over a few people. If you have more than one team member, assigning a platform to a different team member will help keep focus on the strategies for that specific platform. The larger the team, more focused tasks can be assigned, such as ‘listening’ using online dashboards (see Hootsuite and TweetDeck above for examples) to monitor your brand’s name or keywords and responding to any mentions or references. This task may be assigned to the customer service equivalent as you want someone skilled at potentially diffusing negative comments that can become a larger issue if not handled properly. Use the many online social media dashboards to streamline managing your brand across many channels.
As social media continues to grow in popularity, nonprofits must remain focused on how to best manage their presence to remain in-keeping with the overall branding of the cause. I will continue to explore this topic in the coming weeks as there is much more to consider as your social media marketing plans evolve.
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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centre, eBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraising, online fundraising, lottery services, donation caging, donation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.