Social Networks: How to Make Them Work for Your Nonprofit
I hope you enjoyed last month’s column, “The Tools Every Charity Should Have in Its Online Fundraising Toolbox.” For those of you who missed it, let me provide this disclaimer: I lead an online fundraising company, so my perspective is very pro-digital … but it’s also informed by 10 years of Internet fundraising experience, so I hope it will be of some value to you.
Now, to this month’s topic. When I saw the sign “Facebook 101 in the Library” posted at our local public school, I knew a shift was occurring. Parents eager to learn about the Web site their children are spending so much time on had organized a self-help session to share what little they knew about it!
And Facebook isn’t the only site leading the social-media revolution. You’ve probably heard some of the amazing growth statistics and the buzz around other brands like YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The question many nonprofit leaders ask is, “How much time should I be spending on social media?” The answer depends on your goals, so let’s take a closer look.
Is your goal friendraising?
More and more people are spending time on sites like Facebook, so if you want to meet new people, it’s much easier to go where they already congregate rather than try to drag them to your Web site.
Misty Meeks, online communications manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals Canada, is in charge of WSPA’s global fan page on Facebook.
“We have [more than] 70,000 fans worldwide on Facebook” she says. “Most of our fans speak English, and come from the U.S., Denmark, Australia, the U.K. and Canada. What I find noticeable is the gender split. Approximately 75 percent are females, and over 85 percent of our interactions come from females.
“It’s a great communications resource for us at WSPA,” she continues. “We can push out stories, like our recent one about the world’s first release of bonobos, and we receive immediate feedback from our fans. Some want to comment, others just give us the ‘thumbs up’ that they like this.”
Shannon Raybold, Internet director for the United Nations Foundation, organizes “Facebook blitzes” with the help of interns.