Cover Story: New Media … Same Strategy
Behind the scenes
ACS has a number of people across various departments who work on its social-media efforts — staff members and volunteers who like to be in social networks who have taken on additional responsibilities to their jobs to keep up the organization’s presence on them. But Music says that as the birthdays campaign continues to grow, the organization likely will have to beef up support and staffing for it.
“We most likely will develop a complete social-networking team to help us stay on top of everything, because it does take a lot of effort,” she says. “You have to constantly be monitoring in addition to dropping the information into the network, so I’m sure you will see us doing a bit of adjusting as far as our staffing structure is concerned.”
She adds that one of the biggest challenges is the perception that Web 2.0 is more cost-effective than traditional media and can replace more traditional approaches. The fact is you need both traditional and new approaches to fundraising, and new technology approaches require following many of the strategies used to successfully deploy traditional methods.
ACS has discovered it’s best to think of social networks as a means to an end versus an end in and of themselves. Social networks, like traditional media, can be leveraged to reach certain audiences to accomplish broader strategic goals. For example, ACS uses Facebook applications to encourage support of Relay For Life, which has been particularly effective in the college market.
But, ultimately, the key is leveraging the myriad social media tools in conjunction with traditional media to deliver an integrated experience whereby the organization is able to educate and convey important mission messaging, while allowing new and existing audiences the ability to participate, engage and get involved in ways that are comfortable to them.