A Primer on Social Media for Nonprofits
Having a social-media strategy is not its own objective. Rather, social-media strategies can support your existing objectives. Reflect on your organization's current objectives: Do you want to cultivate supporter relationships, build cause awareness, do online fundraising or connect with new supporters? Those are all goals social media can help support.
Your social-media strategy
You have a great framework: You can acquire donors, cultivate them and fundraise. Moreover, you are using both online and offline channels to do it. But you have a nagging interest in social media. Newspapers and television shows are constantly referring to Twitter and Facebook, and the number of people participating in those channels is staggering. The first thing that strikes you is the potential for reaching large numbers of people. As you think about it more, the type of personalized, engaged, high-value relationships you could cultivate with people through social media becomes perhaps even more intriguing.
Once a nonprofit has gotten to this point in its thinking, the most common next questions are:
- How can my organization use social media to pursue specific objectives?
- What are the risks, and how should those risks be managed?
- What are some examples of social-media techniques that have provided real results?
- How do we know what's being accomplished?
Build cause awareness: Bookmark your content — socially!
Do you have anything on your website that you'd like to "boost"? Together, the popular social-bookmarking sites Digg and StumbleUpon serve more than 25 million unique visitors each month. The reason people go to Digg and StumbleUpon is that they figure the community is a good judge of Web content: If a lot of people have marked a Web page as interesting or "digged" it, they might like it too. When a Web page starts to gain popularity on a social-bookmarking service, it can drive a tremendous amount of traffic back to your site and help spread awareness of your cause to thousands of potential supporters.