The Social Media Goldmine for Nonprofits
"Facebook and Twitter’s dual identity as news destination and ad platform is the most significant trend I see affecting nonprofits [...] in their use of these social media outlets right now. Declining organic reach has forced nonprofits to revamp their social content and engagement experiences, as well as reconsider their position on paying to play within Facebook’s network. Nonprofits must find a balance between fundraising and engagement in social media, using a blend of content strategy and thoughtful paid placement.
"Organizations must focus on social content best-practices to ensure that their engagement efforts are not all for naught. Nonprofits naturally are a good fit for social media content. Social media, after all, is about storytelling and creating two-way conversation. Nonprofits have great stories to share (testimonials, background stories, etc.) that really make them both approachable and relatable—which makes them more likely to result in engagement activity such as shares and comments. Remember, Facebook metrics determining the value (and thus greater organic News Feed visibility) of a post go beyond a simple thumbs-up. Linking posts, encouraging easy responses with on-page contests, being flexible enough to post on Facebook’s trending topics when applicable, etc., will all increase a nonprofit’s News Feed visibility.
"But even with a great social content strategy, in order to achieve audience reach, nonprofits still have to consider paying to play on Facebook, and now on Twitter as well, with its new offering of auto-play video ads and mobile ads. Nonprofits need to be thoughtful here by running distinct, straightforward campaigns with a clear call to action, A/B testing creative before fully rolling the campaign out, and optimizing landing pages for conversion.
"I think the answer for nonprofits on how to balance their engagement efforts and their paid investment resides within constituent behavior: Where do they live within the social space? What motivates them? How does engagement impact content reach—and furthermore, what role does engagement play within the conversion cycle, including new donor acquisition and influence on retention? Approaching social engagement with audience insights and behavioral considerations as the foundation will help nonprofits implement a blended paid and organic social strategy that resonates with their unique audience."
—Bethany Maki, vice president, nonprofit digital strategy, PM Digital
"Our point of view is that social provides a new and unprecedented opportunity for deploying cost-effective, targeted, relevant fundraising promotion to consumers. Social media has become an essential element of the nonprofit fundraising landscape because of its reach, addressability and seamless cross-device access to the donor:
- "Reach: 210 million active users in North America and strong active-user representation across adults in the U.S., up through and including the Boomer generation (the sweet spot for direct marketing-focused donor programs)
- "Addressability: Facebook and other social platforms provide the targeting tools, data and analytics to allow nonprofits to target individual donors, not just age/gender demographics. That means we can more accurately target and provide more relevant, personalized asks. That translates to more effective and efficient fundraising.
"Cross-device access: The social platforms seamlessly tie their mobile (smart phone, tablet) apps and their browser-based websites together, making it easier for fundraisers to deliver direct marketing to target audiences across those devices. That’s generally not true on the open Web, and more generally on other offline channels where connecting the user across channels is expensive, challenging or both. So, prospecting for new donors and raising additional funds from existing/lapsed donors, is more efficient on social and across the various devices that consumers use throughout the course of their personal and professional workday.
"Viewed from a high level, then, fundraisers have a choice—they can direct fundraising investment into more channels than ever before. Social media has emerged over the last three years as a major new opportunity for direct marketers, and there is very real fundraising results evidence that it works quite well."
—Jeff Patrick, chief strategy officer/vice president nonprofit, Merkle
The future is bright with social media
Nonprofits must embrace social media 100 percent—but not just as a communication or fundraising channel similar to others. Marketers and fundraisers need to think of social media as a growth channel, a multi-generational channel, a referral/word-of-mouth channel, a brand reputation channel and a channel to create real dialog versus just talking to constituents.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.