Employing a Social Media Strategy to Supplement Volunteer Recruitment

Nonprofit Social Media StrategyWith the expectation of immediacy in the digital age, it’s no surprise over 75% of American adults use social media.  As millions connect daily, social media has become cross-generational and a part of everyday life; those same millions using it to gather daily news and connect with social causes.  If harnessed correctly, social media can be the perfect medium for any non-profit organizations volunteer recruitment arsenal.  Like most things though, having a well laid plan is necessary, otherwise much of what social media has to offer will be squandered.  Considering the amount of technoliteracy required, simply charging the Millennial to post content on social media isn’t a strategy.  Adversely, being of an elder generation isn’t an excuse for not having a strategy either.

Volunteer administrators are tasked with recruiting, training, staffing, and acknowledging volunteers.  At many non-profit organizations, the function of recruitment is reactionary, with volunteer administrators responding to emails, answering phone calls and arranging meetings.  Employing social media allows those recruiting, to be proactive by opening new doors, enlarging the organization’s social network, and increasing the likelihood of onboarding new volunteers.  Keep in mind though, every detail from the content, channels you post on, when and how often you post needs to be intentional with a designed purpose.

Understanding the purpose is first determined by knowing the ‘why’ of the social media strategy.  Whether the goal of the strategy is to generate support for an event or to create a virtual community among volunteers, knowing this goal will shape ‘how’ it’s accomplished.  The ‘why’ in this particular case is converting virtual followers into volunteers.  For those just starting out, focus on one goal at a time to maximize results before implementing more advanced practices.  Focusing on more than one campaign can diminish your social return on investment (ROI), conversion rate of followers to volunteers and your message consistency.  Because this process needs to be Inclusive to other programs within the organization you’ll want to avoid creating a strategy on your own.

Start by conducting an audit to set a benchmark:

Using publicly available data, measure your current social media metrics and set a standard.  But don’t stop there, compare your metrics against likeminded organizations.  Include your information technology (IT), webmaster, and communications staff in the conversation.  Social media engagement needs to be cross-functional to successfully engage the many social circles that exist. As a collaborative group, create guidelines to measure ROI.  Be sure to consider the following;

  • Measure website traffic.  Work with your webmaster and determine current traffic rate before implementing the strategy.  Continually measure the change in traffic as time progresses.  Websites with a social media presence experience nearly 55% more traffic than those without.  
  • Followership and social reach.  Determine current rate of new followers per month.  This only works by having authentic followers (not bought and paid for) on social media.  Over time, monitor this to see if there’s an uptick in followers.  Building a network of authentic followers will create a community around your organization’s brand.  Followers connected to your organization will advocate, share, repost and comment on your content.
  • Frequency of posts.  Each social media channel has an optimum posting frequency rate.  Measure your efforts against current industry standards, using that as a starting point.  Identify what works best, readjusting frequency as needed based on audience feedback.  Finding the optimum post rate will allow for increased visibility of content, while mitigating risk of ‘content shock,’ or audience fatigue from over posting.  
  • Social media is about interaction.  Go beyond ‘numbers’ and dissect the feedback you receive.  Be cognizant of language used by the audience when engaging and compare this over time to quantify effectiveness.  What you say about your organization may (or may not) be what others are sharing through their social networks.  Keeping interaction conversational with followers will humanize your organization’s virtual presence, creating authenticity and trust.  It will also allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s being shared about the organization.

After the audit, plan the deliberate outreach to the targeted audience:

When focusing on volunteers (current and potential) you’ll want to research and understand the population you’re trying to convert.  Pay attention to their demographics and where they reside on the social web.  Different populations have a tendency to use certain social media channels.  Conduct research and seek out the populations you desire.

  • Collect demographics.  Send surveys and conduct deep dive of publicly available information about current and potential volunteers.  Gather age, gender, location, education, profession, and their sources for news.  Collecting data will allow you to segment your outreach and better understand your audience, resulting in stronger virtual connections.
  • Use analytic tools.   Monitor click rates and capitalize on how people engage.  Consider using Google analytics (similar applications) or paid ads that allow you to track and analyze data.  Adopting analytic applications will let you quantify and assess the degree in which your audience engages.  This allows you to see what resonates with your audience and hone in on what works.  

Creating content with consistent branding:

While consistent messaging is important, also consider the way it’s reinterpreted by the audience.  Social media is largely ‘social,’ so focus on making the virtual connection.  Be sure the recruitment strategy is on message with the overall strategic plan of the organization.  Content and logo use should be within the branding and style guidelines that exist, but may need to be modified, allowing engagement to be conversational.  Consider color schemes, images, videos and nomenclature.  Add keywords for search engine optimization (SEO).  Tone and voice should be such that it reaches the broadest audience while being relevant and engaging.  Using images and videos will keep your message brief, concise, and visually stimulating, keeping your audience captivated.

Employ an editorial calendar and a dashboard:

Use an editorial calendar to plan content that’ll be used on social media and traditional marketing channels.  Plan the types of posts, who’s assigned to content creation, due dates and when to publish.  Coordinating content, will ensure material is regularly posted for your audience.  Be sure content creation and editing are congruent with current organizational branding and style guidelines.  Here’s a great editorial calendar template by CoSchedule.com that can be used as a starting point.

After you set up an editorial calendar, save yourself a tremendous amount of time and schedule your posts in advance using a dashboard.  The employment of a dashboard will allow you to schedule posts on multiple channels simultaneously, collaborate with other team members, analyze results (usually a paid feature), and simultaneously track several campaigns.  Research the use of dashboards carefully, as some allow integration between Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook, but some do not.

Social media should be used to augment (not replace) traditional means of marketing and outreach.  Don’t forget incorporating social media into existing marketing tools.  Integrating social media into your website, publications, email newsletters, events and promotional booths will bring your social media presence outside the social web.

Adopt staffing roles and shared responsibilities:

Because social media takes place 24/7, managing interaction will present challenges.  Unless there’s full-time staff whose job is to manage social media, you’ll need the support from others who can commit time to monitoring engagement.  Achieve this by assembling a team that can dedicate time to posting and interacting with followers.  Ensure team members have visibility of what the others are doing.  Create an environment that encourages information sharing to prevent duplication of effort, while facilitating true collaboration.  Until your organization can determine significant ROI of your social media strategy, responsibilities of social media management will be a team effort.  In the meantime, the team can work on attaining buy-in through shared management.  Sum the hours of shared responsibilities, painting a picture of how much dedicated time is necessary to do this successfully.  Only after there’s buy-in from leadership will a dedicated staff member be considered to manage social media.

Initiating engagement and listening to feedback:

Be social.  Interact with followers who post and share your content.  Like the act of volunteering, the virtual connection should focus on the experience through virtual engagement.  Be deliberate with your message while being conversational.  Assign a real person (not an auto responder) who can reply promptly while using discretion.  Below are some tips to do to this effectively.

  • Transcend formal discussion.  Conversational engagement will humanize the organization’s web presence.  Go the extra mile and nurture back and forth dialogue that’s honest, authentic and transparent.  This will create an intimate and positive conversation, keeping your followers engaged and enthusiastic.
  • Capitalize on the engagement.  Create chat sessions, Facebook groups and hashtags that allow followers to provide feedback, advice and commentary.  Both successes and failures exhibited by the organization will be noticeable based on what people share through their social media.  By creating and owning these outlets, you can post content to drive conversation in a direction advantageous to your goals.
  • Post in real-time.  Take advantage of social media and post updates in real time while at events where volunteers are serving.  Like a conversation between two people, volunteers will document and record their good (and bad) experiences, sharing them through virtual conversations.  If those you’re engaging have a good experience, the conversation that follows will take care of itself.
  • Properly tagging others.  ‘Tagged’ followers often times receive an alert notifying them of engagement and will in turn respond, creating conversation.  By tagging others, you allow the conversation to be tracked.  If it’s not tracked, you lose an ability to analyze the data using third party applications.
  • Listen and continue cycle:  Follow the conversation and analyze engagement through the entire lifecycle of the strategy.  Use the data to periodically audit the process, making adjustments as needed.  Feedback from engagement will contribute back into the process of auditing, setting new benchmarks, targeting and segmenting the audience, generating future content, staying in tune with supporters and strengthening the virtual relationships.

For many including myself, it’s hard to remember a life without instant access to the digital world.  But in the grand scheme of things, social media is relatively young in age when compared to other marketing tools.  There’s a reason traditional marketing tools have stood the test of time.  While social media isn’t a ‘fix’ or something to be solely relied on, it’s one of the fastest growing social circles for collaboration with an estimated 20 million new users projected over the next five years.  For non-profit organizations that have a limited advertising budget, little visibility and few staff, social media can offer an outlet that levels the playing field against the 1.5 million other organizations competing for the same attention from volunteers.  Like starting anything from the bottom, it takes dedicated time (give it an hour a day), deliberate action, fine tuning and most importantly, patience.  As your audience grows, so will your conversion rate of authentic followers to volunteers.


Nonprofits are Turning to Twitter to Drive Interest Around Fundraising Efforts

Using Twitter to Fundraise - Fundraising AdviceAs social media continues to grow in popularity, the investment by early adopters into online fundraising and technology is finally starting to pay off.  If you were not one of the early adopters, don’t worry, it’s not too late to build and engage your online community.

There are many social media channels useful to nonprofits, and a multichannel approach strategy is highly recommended. But for the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on one of the most widely used communications vehicles today, Twitter.

Twitter has been used to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities and charitable causes – according to an MDG Advertising report, using Twitter during fundraising events can result in 10 times more money raised online. It has helped successfully spread awareness about social issues, and best of all, it’s free (for the most part). Those reasons alone make it a major asset to nonprofits.

Audience growth on social media continues to be very high. The 2015 M+R Benchmarks Study reported while email list sizes grew by 11 percent in 2014, Twitter audiences increased by 37 percent averaging 5.4 posts per day.

Because spreading the word is a core function of Twitter, it is an ideal place to raise awareness and support for your online fundraising effort. But to do it successfully takes more than posting multiple tweets a day.

First and foremost, focus on building and nurturing your community of supporters through offline and online channels. Twitter is a great tool to have in your arsenal, but it’s the community that powers it. These tips should help you harness that power and start you off on the right foot to a successful fundraising campaign.

The following steps will guide you through the “rules” of engagement.

First Things First:

  1. Don’t try to sell yourself in 140 characters, but do tell stories. If all you do is tweet about yourself, and never provide value in your tweets, your followers will lose interest quickly. Keep your language casual. Talk about your supporters and what they have been able to accomplish. You can build the story with multiple tweets.
  2. Provide value to the audience. This is a must to get your supporters engaged. Find a balance within your tweets by providing information (i.e., retweets from other organizations), a quote, inspiration and even entertainment to brighten their day.
  3. Be true to yourself. But not at the expense of being heard. The biggest mistake nonprofits make on Twitter is when they tweet with the same voice they use in their letters from the executive director. It won’t work. If all you “give” is speeches on Twitter, you won’t have many people listen; they will move on. Talk and get involved with hashtags. Spotlight other people that are doing good things that are related to what your cause is doing. Provide value and you will build a much bigger social media following.

Fundraising Tips to Remember:

  1. Demonstrate return on investment (ROI) from a donation. You are asking for help. Be sure to state your purpose clearly and concisely. Let people know why they should care about your cause, and be specific about how their contribution will benefit others. Potential supporters are more apt to respond to your ask if they know exactly what will become of the funds they are providing. You will ensure your organization’s credibility by being specific.

Twitter Fundraising Tips

  1. Communicate an achievable goal. “We need to raise $1,000 in the next hour to provide a safe place for 50 women and children to sleep tonight.” “If we get 20 new supporters today an anonymous donor will give $1,000 donation.” Make it realistic and achievable. Whatever your goal is, during the day, tweet out your progress. Be sure to time your online fundraising posts thoughtfully. People will lose interest in the idea of supporting your cause if the pattern of your tweets appears robotic and repetitive.

How to use Twitter to Fundraise - Fundraising Tips

  1. The power of friends. Friends inspire 33 percent* of the time! Take this opportunity to drive community and donor engagement around your nonprofit’s cause. Urge donors to post messages about their gifts on social networks to encourage their friends to give. You get two opportunities with this one – stay in touch with current supporters, get retweets and gain new supporters. Don’t forget to use RT (retweet), and #FF (Follow Friday) when calling out your friends to follow.
    *Salsa online donor engagement survey.

Nonprofit Fundraising Advice - How yo use Twitter to get donations


A Few Thoughts Before you Tweet:

  1. Match your branding, headlines and call to action. It’s all about the details. Make sure your donors are directed to a landing page that matches your tweet. When you are driving a donor to a branded page your conversion rate will be six times higher.
  2. Follow up. If you are implementing a fundraising campaign be sure to plan your follow up before you ever send your first tweet. Know what you want your tweets to say, how often and what you expect your results to reflect. It is important to have a number of tweets ready so you can respond quickly and appropriately when the time comes.

And as most of you know, the real trick in raising money is to not give up. The same goes for Twitter. As you continue to build followers and spread your message and relevant news about your cause, those followers will step up and push your message as well.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+

Nonprofit Social Media AdviceWondering if Google+ is worth it for your nonprofit organization? Unsure of what it really offers, and if you should invest the time? Here’s the truth: because it’s backed by the world’s biggest search engine, Google+ is pretty powerful. Using it can affect your nonprofit’s search rankings as well as connections. So if you want to make the most if this might social network, here’s what your nonprofit needs to do.

1. Optimize Your Profile: Optimizing your profile means uploading an attractive, relevant cover image, as well as a headshot of either the person who is the face of your brand (such as yourself) or your company logo. Next, complete the About page, including links to your website and other social media profiles. Tell new visitors who you are what you do and why they should care.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+2. Follow Relevant People and Organizations: At its heart, Google+ is a social network and, as such, it’s a tool for connection. Use it to form relationships with other people you’d like to network with, get to know, learn from, etc. Follow potential donors. Follow related nonprofits. Follow professionals with whom you’ve collaborated in the past. Then, engage with them regularly by liking and/or responding to the content they post and by sharing relevant content that they’ll find interesting.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+3. Give a Window into Your Brand: Use Google+ to give your followers an inside look at your brand by posting images and status updates of behind-the-scenes info: what you’re working on, how you’re prepping for events, new initiatives you’re pursuing, etc. Whenever possible, make your sharing visual, as pictures tend to be more compelling than large blocks of text.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+

4. Use Hashtags: Just like Twitter, Google+ allows you to use hashtags as a way to highlight relevant search terms for content. So when you post an update, you can add hashtags to make your content easier to find by users. Anytime someone clicks one of those hashtags — either from your updates or from someone else’s — it will point him or her to all content tagged with that term.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+5. Target Your Messages with Circles: One of the unique benefits of Google+ is that you can target your messages to specific groups — prospective donors, volunteers, colleagues, current donors, etc. To do so, click on a contact’s name and use the built-in feature that allows you to place him or her in a certain circle. Then, when you want to address that group, add its name with a + sign to the “to” line in your updates. When you do, your message will only display to the people you are specifying.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+6. Plan Events: Use Google Events to plan and schedule upcoming fundraising or volunteer events. Set a time and location within the tool, add some information and photos, invite people and make it easy to see who’s coming, all in one streamlined place.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+
7. Try Hangouts: Google+ includes a great video chatting tool called Hangouts, which allows you to engage with up to 15 followers at once. Whether you’re holding meetings with remote employees, providing training information for volunteers or something else, this tool can be great for fostering community. There’s also a tool called Hangouts on Air, which lets you stream your videos live to YouTube, making them available to an even greater number of users.

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure with Google+

The bottom line with Google+ for nonprofits is versatility — with Google+, you can engage with a large audience, personalize messages for certain groups, hold meetings, create training videos, promote your cause, drum up interest and more. And whether you’re new to the network or already on it, these tips show you how to make the most of Google+ for your organization

How To Create An Effective Social Media Campaign For a Nonprofit Organization

Nonprofit Social Media AdviceCreating a social media campaign for a non-profit organization can be a daunting task. As a twenty-five year fundraising veteran, I am all too familiar with the challenges that face those who have to develop and launch a social media campaign that will generate new donors and consistent funds being raised.

It is key to develop a strategy prior to launching one’s social media tactics. This is a common mistake that is made not only with fundraising committees, but in businesses around the world.


Gaining Key Input & Participation

From my experience, any successful fundraising campaign is built upon strong and committed staff and/or volunteers. Your best staff and/or volunteers should be financially committed to the project. Without them putting some skin into the game personally, they will struggle to get others to donate. Eighty-five percent of your donations will occur because of “Social proofing”, which means others will donate when they see your board members and volunteers fully commit themselves financially.

Here is some great advice from the Grassroots Fundraising Journal:

“When formulating a fundraising plan, it is important to get input from your board, staff and volunteers. Hold a special meeting of your organization to brainstorm and gather input.  It is very important to get your board and staff involved in this process from the beginning so that they will take ownership. Some organizations delegate this function to a fundraising committee, but with small organizations, it is better to involve the entire board. Without board and volunteer involvement in fundraising, most organizations wither and die. Fundraising must be a shared responsibility. If you have board members who say that they just don’t do fundraising, the board needs to consider whether those unwilling members’ contributions are so important as to merit exemption from this important board obligation. Morale will be high if everyone pitches in, but if some don’t’, morale could suffer.”

Communicate a Clear & Inspiring Message

Your campaign must be built on a clear-cut purpose that is easy to communicate, as well as inspiring to people. Donors want to see a campaign that is bold, heart-felt and has shown demonstrable success in positively affecting the lives of others.

When the purpose and message are clear, you can not only generate more donations, but they in turn will advocate that others get active and donate as well. They will become your “brand ambassadors” for your ongoing social media efforts.

Key Elements For Fundraising Success

Whether you fundraising online or in person, these are some general rules that will help you reach your fundraising goals easier and faster.

  • Set Realistic Fundraising Goals – It is important that you establish a pyramid or donors. In other words, you will have to establish how 90% of your funds will be donated by 10% of those who donate. And this is a liberal amount. You may find that 95% of your funds will come from 5% of those who donate. If you have to raise $100,000, then you will find that $85-90,000 of that will come from about twenty to thirty individuals or families.               I suggest that you read the book “Asking” by Jerold Panas on how to plan this donor pyramid competently.
  • Do Not Set Low Minimums – I suggest that you make your minimum donation at $25, not $10. This alone will 2.5X your funds raised, if all you did was procure minimum donations from your efforts.
  • Have Active Donators Set Appointments With Others – Social networking should not be limited to electronic means. Let’s set in-person interviews with those who have compassion for making the world a better place. As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Have your best donators network with their friends, family and business contacts to get them involved with your project in a big way.
  • Leverage “Matching Grants” To Inspire Additional & Bigger Donations – When you have someone that is willing to donate a significant amount of funds to your project, leverage that donation to create even more by the use of “matching grants.” If I had a board member who was willing to donate $1,000.00 to the project, I would have everyone email and communicate across their social media channels that we are looking to generate matching funds. Have the key donator tell their story that they match funds, by seeing more people and funds involved in this project. Ten individuals could donate $100 to then make that original gift of $1,000 come though.
  • Those Who Donate Will Donate Again – Be sure to profusely thank those who have donated. Ensure that they are thanked multiple times and in various manners. Additionally, by awarding people some type of status, you can then tell them what they can donate to reach their next status. By thanking people and by develop levels of statuses, you will see that those who donate will donate again and again.


Social Media Tactics That Will Generate Success

Now let’s get down to the actual tactics of utilizing social media for fundraising. Assuming that you have a great team of dedicated staff and/or volunteers, as well as a bold and successful program that clearly communicates its purpose and success, you are now ready to launch with your social media tactics.

  • Develop Engaging Content: The Key To Social Media Success – Most social media campaigns fail because fundraising committees do not realize that social media is simply communication channel, not the content of the communication itself. You have to forward something worthwhile. You need to tell, in many ways, compelling stories. This is the heart is social media success. It is crucial to feature photos of those touched with your campaign, videos of the campaign in action, successes of the program, testimonials from other donors on why they gave, FAQs, and other vital content that will go viral and be worthy of sharing and re-sharing. Without great content curated and shared, your social media efforts will struggle.
  • Utilize Email As Your Backbone Channel – Email is now over 40 years old and is used by Baby Boomers and Generation X much more than social media. Send out regular email communications, particularly featuring your best content and the testimonials of those who have recently donated.
  • Use Multiple Social Channels – Blackbaud, a software developer for non-profits, found in a 2012 study that optimism levels dropped from 62% to 44% in Australia when nonprofits used fewer than five fundraising methods. On the flipside, optimism rose from 73% to 86% in New Zealand when more than five channels were used.
  • Vary Your Calls-To-Action – You will need to communicate your project with varied appeals. People will only donate based on what appeals to them. Look for the different angles and nuances within your stories. Feature these unique aspects and you will see each one helping you to touch and motivate a broader base of potential donors.
  • Have a Facebook Fan Page – This is simple to do and I am sure that you can procure a volunteer to build one for you. As well, look to Facebook ads to drive traffic and develop new followers to your fan page. Ensure that you post at least 2-3 times per day with interesting content. This will show proof that you are impacting the world and achieving your stated goal.
  • Develop Your Own Unique #Hashtag For Your Campaign – When utilizing Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and now Facebook, promoting your own hashtag can be a key moniker for your campaign. Develop a hashtag that truly embodies the spirit and purpose of your campaign. Hashtags can become a vital part of your branding, as well as your donors following your posts, as well as followers to connect with each other as a community.
  • Always Include A Call-To-Action – Always ask people on social media channels and in your emails to “Please share” or “Please Retweet.”

Develop A Strategy, Change The World

As a fundraiser, you play a vibrant important role for your community and to those that you touch. By learning how to develop an effective social media strategy, you will be able to impact even more lives. Good luck and God’s speed!


Mixing Oil and Water: Social Media and Nonprofits

Social Media for NonprofitsSocial media and nonprofits often feel like oil and water. While there are some amazing examples of how to engage potential donors and activists through social networks (KONY and Charity Water come to mind), smaller organizations without massive media budgets continue to struggle. While an organization may have limited resources, time, or be older and experiencing technological growing pains, it is never too late to start doing amazing things with social without harassing their donors or throwing wads of cash at a consultant.


1. Enable a creative, risk taking social media team.

On social media, it seems like everything been tried before. That’s because most of it has. Begging for likes through contests, raffles, events can put users (and myself) to sleep. Nonprofits are, understandably, risk-adverse, but you can be creative without hurting your brand. While your current donors may not be tech-savvy an innovative use of social media can expand your reach to a whole new audience. Try setting up a team brainstorming session with a “yes, and…” attitude that makes everyone think outside of the box.


2. Focus your effort.

If you don’t have the time or team to fully devote to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and a blog – don’t be everywhere! Do one medium well instead of four poorly. There’s an expectation to be available everywhere, but find the one that works best for you and your organization. Look at where your current and potential donors are most active (maybe even send a survey!) and also look at what network works best for your purposes. Does your organization revolve around a current issue? Try out Twitter. Do you take lots of photos you want to share? Consider focusing on Facebook.


3. Using multiple networks? Use them differently.

The worst thing you could do is have the same presence everywhere. When you do that, there’s no reason to follow you in multiple places and you start wasting your time. Not all content should be posted to Twitter and Facebook with the same language. Twitter needs to be short with an interesting call-to-action while Facebook allows for long-form appeals to emotion with an eye-catching photo.


4. Don’t broadcast.

If you’re going to use social networks, use them to engage with your current and potential donors and volunteers. You already broadcast when you send newsletters, so give people a reason to be social with you. Reply when someone reaches out or find opportunities to track keywords related to your cause. Being proactive is the difference between a brand page people start loving and a brand page people get bored with.


5. Use a tool.

You’re going to want to track more than @Mentions. Let’s say your organization is about violence in Chicago. You want to be able to find the people who care about that issue and let them know about your organization. A social tool like HootSuite or Sprout Social will let you track certain keywords related to your cause. Maybe you find someone outraged about the issue and you’re throwing a benefit dinner that same night. Letting them know could give you a new, dedicated volunteer. Be careful to not be too sales-y though!


6. Understand that it takes time.

Consistency is vital to making your page one worth following. People won’t follow you (usually) because of one interaction. They want to see that you’re dedicated to engaging them and providing important, relevant information in the future. It looks terrible to tweet every day for a month, and then switching to an update once every two weeks. People notice that and won’t engage. Don’t start your social media sites with expectations you can’t keep. Have a plan. Have fallbacks. Plan your content in advance by making a content calendar and adjusting as needed. It will be tedious at first, but will pay off in the long run.

7. Adjust. React.

Things won’t always go according to plan. Your big announcement may be marred by a tragedy or someone may yell at you via Twitter. Remaining flexible is key on social media and being able to react to things as they happen shows that you’re paying attention and that you care. Have a set of guidelines in place, but make sure they’re broad enough to let the person in charge of your social be the voice of your nonprofit and responsive.

If these tips sound similar to other industries, they should. Don’t make a distinction between how awesome brands like Nike use social media and how nonprofits use social media. Be the Nike or Virgin America for your issue. There’s no reason nonprofits can’t be the innovators in social media. You, as a nonprofit, can successfully mix water and oil by properly communicating your important call to action and appeal to emotion through social media.


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