Get Your Head Out of … the Sand
Ideally, a nonprofit would have at least one person whose job, eight hours a day, would be monitoring blogs, message boards and profiles, etc. But what are the chances of that happening at your organization?
More likely, the work will be divided among a number of staffers, or even more likely than that, one or two people will do it in their “off” hours.
Durham says social-network updating is a great way to give capable volunteers an important role within your organization — “as long as you trust them to draw the line where you would,” she adds.
The do’s and don’ts
No matter how you choose to engage people online, you need a plan. It’s not something that, despite appearances, just “happens.” Maybe your teenager can get away with updating his status every six weeks or inundating friends with stream-of-consciousness tirades, but you — as an organization — can’t.
Cubine offers these tips for connecting online:
- Map out a “high-engagement timeline.” Plan on daily updates, blog entries, and photo or video posts, etc., perhaps, for example, around an important issue on Capitol Hill or about a big event sponsored by the organization.
- Create a contact strategy. Divide up responsibility daily or every other day between two or three key staffers to determine who will do what and when. For example, staffer A checks and responds to postings between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., and staffer B checks and responds to postings between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
- Be prepared. Trying to think of something witty to post or comment on is sometimes difficult. Treat these posts just like an e-mail series or direct-mail letter, and plan on regular discussion topics and other elements.
Cubine also suggests identifying one or two key bloggers in your mission area, nurturing relationships with them and keeping them updated with news from your organization in the hopes that they in turn will talk more about you in their blogs.