In most cases, nonprofits are formed to meet a need. Perhaps an organization wants to address the issue of food insecurity with local school children, help the unemployed find jobs, or even provide gifts for low-income families during Christmas.
Worthy endeavors all. But if a nonprofit organization is just starting, how do they get the word out? What are the best practices for social media and nonprofits? Advertising can be expensive and needs to be ongoing to increase effectiveness. An article in a local publication can pay immediate dividends, but in the long term, you’re right back where you started.
So why not use something you – and the people you want to reach – are probably already using? Social media is ever-present, inexpensive, and can be updated as often as needed. Use your friends, followers, and anyone else you’re linked with to help spread the word.
However, it takes more than just sending a tweet or posting to your timeline. An organized social media strategy ensures your nonprofit stays in front of dedicated donors and volunteers as well as reaching potential sponsors to help your organization grow.
Know Yourself, Know Your Audience
Just as you had a reason for starting a nonprofit, your organization needs to figure out what it hopes to achieve from using social media. Ask the following five questions to make sure your organization gets the most out of their social media presence:
- Why are you using social media?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Where will you reach them?
- What will you be telling them?
- When do you reach out?
This question is listed first for an important reason: if you don’t know why you ‘re on social media, the other questions don’t really matter. Is it to request donations, announce events, or find volunteers? Make sure to establish goals for your strategy as well. Social media can be a great tool, just make sure you’re using it correctly.
Now that your message has a direction, who should it be directed at? Some social media platforms allow you to appear in front of specific demographics for a small fee. But who fits the bill? Send surveys to existing volunteers or donors to get an idea of who your organization is resonating with. Then feed that information to your platform — no need to waste resources on those who are unwilling, or unable, to help.
Everybody may be on social media, but that doesn’t mean they’re on all social media. For a detailed look at how the US uses social media, the Pew Research Institute released a study in early 2018. Spoiler alert: young adults don’t use Facebook. Not only can this information help shape your audience, but it could also help shape your message.
Which leads us to what you’ll be telling your audience or asking of them. Make sure your message is on point and gives them a reason to click the link through to your website. It’s important to lead your audience by the hand: if you’re asking for donations, link to the donation page of your site. Looking for volunteers? Send them directly to the volunteer page.
While it’s important to stay in front of your target audience, you don’t want to be constantly in their way. Of course, nobody has time for 20 posts a day, and even five can be too many if you aren’t diversifying your message. However, if you only post once a month, you might as well not be doing anything at all.
One last thing to think about with your social media strategy: it’s also a great way to reach the community you’re trying to help. Not everybody has a smartphone or the newest iPad, but maybe a family member does. Maybe they check in at the library once a week. No matter how they find it, social media can reach those who want to help and those that need the help.
If you’re working with a nonprofit and you would like to receive social media training and consultation, get in contact with us today. Our experts can equip you with the tools to build your own social strategy so that you can get your message in front of the masses.