Social Media and Nonprofits: Share This!

We have been continuing our discussion about donor engagement and specifically how social media and other tools can amplify your reach.

Once you have decided that social media should be part of your strategic plan, what’s next? What will you say?

Consider these three key areas:

1) Organizational Impact: Donors want to know what good you are doing in the world. This is no surprise, I know, but consider how social media can help you extend that message. A simple Tweet may say: One new well just drilled in middle of town to provide fresh H2O!

2) Successes: Share them often and across distribution channels and stay on message. For example, building on the Tweet above, your blog post that day should be from the field, complete with audio and video. You should also Tweet out those pics.

3) Inside Organizational Scoop: This is the most overlooked area, and yet many donors crave info on the who, what and how of any organization to whom they give their money. Consider posting congratulations on your Facebook fan page to employees who excel, sharing goals met, etc.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can more effectively use social media to improve your donor engagement, consider joining us on 6/25/09 for our online workshop featuring a special guest..

A Few Twitter Tip Basics

I am so over it.  That’s right.

Maybe because of the recent crazy glare of the mass media on all things social media, people are jumping in left and right.  I know, we’ve been harping on this for a while (see these posts:  3 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Engage Donors, 7 Social Media Self Assessment Questions, and Repeat after me: Cap-ti-vate me.), but the nutiness continues. 

In this month’s newsletter we explore just a few of the very fundamental Twitter tips for nonprofits and small businesses, although I suspect they could apply anywhere.  Thought I’d share them here.

1) Tweet, but don’t overtweet and annoy Twitterverse.  How much is enough varies, and is dependent on what you are tweeting; however, over 85% of folks only Tweet once per day and a large percentage never Tweet after the inaugural Tweet.  Twitter is too valuable to squander away.  See #2 for more on that.

2) Always tweet with the “What’s In It for Me” content value in mind. Not everyone cares that you just stopped for a caramel frappacino. It is good to occasionally provide some personal info – it gives a “face” to the Tweets.  For example, we have a very strong strat-up and VC background.  We have grown 8 businesses, so I do Tweet about that once in a while.  Lets folks know who we are and why we do what we do.

3) Pay attention to what others in your interest area are doing. Follow them.  You’ll learn a lot. (Um, you think this would go without saying…but apparently it doesn’t.)

4) Reply to people. One of the big mistakes I find with new twitterers is that they just post. That makes it all about them.  It’s not.  Engage with the community.

5) Be kind – retweet.  Now that you are on Twitter, use your powers for good, and the power of the RT cannot be underestimated.

6) Um, did I already mention that it’s not always about you?  Lemme say it again…my current pet peeve is relentless tweeting every hour about what you are selling or services you are providing.  I will not follow you and will STOP following you if that kind of behavior continues.  Yeah, I said it.

There are dozens of ways that Twitter can help you achieve your objectives. Make a plan and stick to it.  Better yet, let me know how it goes.

7 Social Media Self Assessment Questions

Organizations continue to dive into social media head first at an alarming rate. I have seen so many Tweets like this over the last month: “Woo Hoo.  Company XYZ is on Twitter. Follow us!” Then nothing else. Radio silence. That’s not a strategy, and it is discouraging to see a potentially powerful medium squandered.  

Make sure the social media pieces fit.

Make sure the social media pieces fit.

So, in response, we’re posting 7 Social Media Self Assessment Questions.

1) What do you hope to achieve by using social media? Build awareness or brand? Generate leads?  Increase donations? Entertain? Teach? Sell a product or service? Be clear, write it down and get buy-in. (Oh, be realistic, too.)

2) Do you know who you are trying to reach and where they congregate online? Don’t skimp here, even though you might be tempted to think you know the answer. DO the research and figure out who you need to reach to achieve #1 and then which social media tool is most likely to reach them.

3) Do you have the time to continually update with fresh and relevant content? I cannot stress this enough. That’s why you must have objectives, choose your tools wisely and then determine a plan on who will update, when they’ll do it and WHAT they’ll say. It is worse to create a profile, tell the world and then let it die a slow and painful cyber-death.

4) Do you have a written policy in place to manage the communication? In politics, we called this “staying on message”. If you have various people Tweeting and blogging, what should they be saying, what should they NOT be saying. I’ve seen many organizations do irreparable harm to their brand by tweeting out information that was never intended for public consumption. Social media is powerful. Use your power for good and be careful.

5) Are you prepared for a level of transparency that you have never before experienced? If you have an unhappy visitor/customer/donor, are you prepared for her to criticize you openly on your blog? Tweet about you mercilessly? Not much is private and there are growing security issues as social media apps gain attention of fraudsters and hackers.

6) Do you have the creativity and innovation to deliver the right content via the right application? Get beyond the mundane .  Dry podcasts and newsy posts are swell, I’m sure, but actually watching someone use your product or service?  Very cool.

7) Can you track it and show success? After you determine what you want to achieve, you need to know how to measure the return on investment (ROI). Tightly link your web site/blog/facebook fan pages/Twitter accounts and more so you are driving traffic and interest to the right places with a clear call to action. I suggest you track both leading indicators (traffic, clicks, etc.) and lagging indicators (demos, increased giving, reduced customer service costs, conversions, etc.).

There are many tools that can help you achieve your social media goals and you can always contact us, as well, and we’ll show you how to do this successfully on your own. In the meantime, please don’t dive in head first. Make a plan for your success.

3 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Engage Donors

Social Media can make a significant impact on nonprofit donor engagement.

Social Media can make a significant impact on nonprofit donor engagement.

Social media is proving to be a valuable tool for nonprofits to engage donors. Donors want to be associated with organizations they support beyond giving money, and these associations are what will lead to more donations. Social media is a means to this end. At its very premise, social media seeks to create a dialogue with an intended audience and, more specifically, build a relationship of value between business and customer (or donor and donee).

Philanthropic decisions are based on a myriad of research, including Internet search, and organizations must find ways to interact with these decision makers to capture their attention. So, as the economic recession pressures donors to re-examine relationships with nonprofits, now is the perfect time to engage donors and create a lasting relationship using social media.

Online fundraising tools no longer require a highly technical, web savvy expert. Here are 3 ways that nonprofit organizations can immediately begin to use social media to engage donors.

1. Create a blog. From a nonprofit perspective there are several key reasons to blog. Blogs should compliment your other channels of communication like video, print, and live presentations, but blogs can deliver perhaps the most important result. A well-written blog can deliver strong relationships with an audience. Blogging gives you a forum where your main objective is not to sell, but to grow and strengthen a personal relationship between you and your donors. Blogs are a fast way to join donor conversation, offer tips and insights or receive feedback. You can establish yourself as the expert, strike up donor friendships, feed internal collaboration and deliver content that your audience can directly relate to.

Example:  Beth’s Blog or Tactical Philanthropy 

2. Use YouTube. For the past several years, online video has become as a strategic tool for groups organizing on the web. Developing a short, simple video can express the needs of a nonprofit in a uniquely compelling manner. YouTube has a specially designed program that enables non-profits to create dedicated channels for themselves, making it even easier for people to find, watch, and engage with the organization’s video content. The most important thing is to make a video with a strong call to action.

You can sign up here: YouTube’s Nonprofit Program  

3. Get a Twitter account. Twitter is basically “microblogging.” You get 140 characters to answer the question, “What are you doing?” Fund-raisers use Twitter to engage donors they didn’t even know existed, often way beyond their geographic boundaries. The tool lets you “listen in” to conversations and hear what prospective donors are talking about. This is priceless knowledge for your own campaigns. You can follow other organizations and garner great advice. It’s real time insight and feedback from potential donors and peers.

Example: Charity: Water has harnessed the power of social media to fund its projects. The projected amount raised by Twestival currently stands at $250,000 USD. See Charity : Water or Twestival

As free tools, Twitter and the above are welcomed additions to hard hit budgets.


Professional Mojo is offering an online workshop for an overview of successful social media strategies that nonprofit and faith-based organizations can embrace to maximize donor engagement on June 25.

4 Overlooked Roles of the Small Business Owner


Richard Chang, author of The Passion Plan at Work , once said that “passion is the single most powerful competitive advantage an organization can claim in building its success.”  In honor of this year’s National Small Business Week, which wrapped yesterday, let’s talk about some of the overlooked roles the small business owner must play in his or her organization to regain that passion.

1) Super passionate spokesperson:  Ms. Small Biz Owner, you left a good job in the city, working for the man, to take a risk. Now you find yourself buried in the minutiae that it takes to run a business from day to day.  It can sap your enthusiasm and passion unless you stoke the fires!  Meet with key customers and clients and remind yourself that you are living your dream, building a future and solving issues for other people.  Everyone needs a cheerleader.  Be your own.

2) Chief Strategist:  Probably one of the most overlooked roles for a small business owner is that of chief strategist.  Sure, once upon a time there was a business plan and it’s now collecting dust on the shelf.  That small business plan was a living and breathing path to success.  Smart business owners consistently review their strategy and models.  If you don’t know where your revenue is going to come from next week or next year or during the next downturn, you’ve got some planning to do.

3) Student:  Bill Wagner, in his book The Entrepreneur Next Door, says that there is a direct correlation between the amount of time an entrepreneur invests in his education and his success.  But, let me be clear:  learning comes in many different forms, thanks to social networking and social media.  As a small business owner, you should be leveraging online workshops, Twitter, blogs, Linked In and a whole host of other tools to get your most pressing questions answered by people who have been there.  Those tools can build your business and brand, too, but they are just as important to you as a leader.

4) Consensus Builder:  The drive and will to succeed is part of the entrepreneur’s DNA. So should be consensus building.  Find ways to be inclusive, seek out alliances that can benefit your business, and instill a culture of passion and enthusiasm in your organization.  Nothing will kill success and innovation in your company faster than an owner ignoring or shooting down ideas and concerns from the rank and file.  Your employees will flee for the hills the first chance they get. 


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