Social Media as a Non-For-Profit

Social media has rapidly grown from being a hobby for young adults to becoming an essential component of any organizations efforts to establish both a public voice and credibility. Corporations, non-for-profits, and even governments heavily utilize popular platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to reach out to communities, prospective clients, and even volunteers. While there is rapid and continuous change with every platform, a few common threads can be found in the most effective social media campaigns.

Why You Should Use Social Media

A former digital director for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Sreenath Sreenivasan, as a staunch proponent of leveraging social media in promoting business interests, explained in an interview with the New York Times that for the Museum, social media “isn’t just a marketing channel, it’s a listening and conversational channel as well.”

Social media is a platform that is defined by both content generators and readers, collaborating to create an ecosystem that maximizes interconnectivity and the sharing of valuable content. As such, for any organization seeking to advance its own agenda it needs to actively leverage the largest community available, which is currently these platforms.

How To Be Successful On Social Media

“Success” is a nebulous term, especially when dealing with oft-immeasurable concepts such as community awareness and positive connotations. Changes in follower counts and the rise of feedback from readers are excellent indicators for vibrant social communities, however they fail to truly differentiate between positive growth and momentary spikes caused by a social media faux pas. Here are some ways to make certain that changes in your social media audience occur for the right reasons:


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Set Goals

Goals are vital for any advertising endeavor, regardless of the source company or intended purpose. Unlike a for-profit entity focusing on selling products, nonprofits such as yourself have to tackle a greater challenge: convincing potential donors that their cash can be used to help others. When leveraged properly, a social media campaign can lead to improved donations and general awareness of your mission. 95% of global NGOs believe that social media enhances brand awareness with 71% believing it is an effective tool for fundraising, according to the most recent technology report issued by Nonprofit Tech for Good NGO.

Emphasize Community Engagement

Social media thrives because of how easily it has lowered barriers to consumer engagement with service providers and other content generators. However, the effectiveness of this outreach endeavor is tied directly to the quality of information provided to public and private queries. When creating content, make certain that the follow-up feedback provisions (both in post and other channels) is handled by topic specialists that have the information needed to provide accurate responses.

By taking the time to reach out to your audience, you will create an environment that rewards prospective donors and volunteers for their engagement. With a positive environment you will be able to more readily identify revenue sources and human resource opportunities for the vital tasks you perform every day.


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Learn More About Your Target Demographic

Unlike a for-profit business, which only has to target a single demographic, you have to understand the needs of both those you serve and those most apt to contribute to your cause. When creating social media content it is easy to get lost in your services and create material that is focused solely on those you help. It is vital to approach this task by first identifying those that you wish to view it.

These defined goals will enable you to better categorize the post and to develop subsequent marketing material surrounding it in order to maximize market penetration. For instance, if you are in need of volunteers within a specific distance to a small town you will be able to develop a post describing why they should help, and limit the advertising that goes into it to a specific geographic area. While this may result in fewer shares of the post itself, it will lead to higher quality results by directly reaching your target audience with greater ease.


Develop A Content Generation & Distribution Strategy

After you understand who you are trying to reach and the overall goals of the marketing endeavor, you need to sit down and develop the actual content generation and distribution strategy. A well developed plan not only takes the guesswork out of content generation, but provides you with the opportunity to enhance the prospects of success on social media by providing consistency in message vital in forming a loyal following.

For instance, if you are hosting a media spectacle that will play host to various bands, performers, and ancillary artists you can dedicate a month’s worth of posts to describing both the event itself and what the generated revenues will help fund. For situations in which you are looking for assistance, you can even create posts in advance of this directly targeting those who may be interested through direct links to their personal profiles (for musicians and other organizations).

Another key feature that comes with developing long term plans is the ability to adapt future content on the fly. This will enable you to provide consistency in message while still adapting to changing current events. For instance, if you provide free medical care to a large city, then you can include flexibility in your schedule to address things like a spike in flu cases.

After generating the content, you will have complete control over the posting schedule, and thus can shape public perception of the issue by either swamping the market or letting it trickle out. For instance, if you know that a specific holiday inevitably brings with it a rise in car accidents, you can arrange to post a slew of articles on the topic a day or two in advance. This will get their attention and hopefully help prevent the need to call a tow truck!

Something celebrating a holiday, or major funding target, can be spread out more evenly to enable excitement to build. Greater anticipation can lead to more donations, as long as you interact with the viewers and stoke the flames of curiosity!