Social media has enormous potential to help nonprofits engage donors, volunteers, and other connections on a completely different level than they were able to before.
Here are four ways nonprofits can succeed with social media:
1. Create “light” ways to engage.
Give potential connections an easy way to become introduced to your organization without making a huge upfront commitment of time or money. For example, start by asking them to like you on Facebook. Prompt them to share a post with their friends. From there, you can request small amounts of time or money—and then gradually increase the ask to deepen their engagement. Make sure to collect sufficient data on all your contacts, no matter what level of engagement they’ve committed to.
2.Think in terms of lifetime value.
Once you find the people who are interested in your cause, create innovative ways to engage them for the long term. Invite them to engage in leadership committees or train the next generation of volunteers. Think about all the possibilities in the relationship—not just in terms of fundraising, but in other ways you can accelerate your mission. For instance, you may have a potentially interested person who can only donate small amounts of money annually, however, they're willing to commit to an increasing number of volunteer hours or to elevated positions of responsibility.
3. Show results immediately.
Today’s volunteers and donors want to instantly see what's been accomplished with their actions or funds. With the right technology tools, you’ll have the data and can display it in real time. Show how a particular volunteer effort has pushed a mission closer to achieving its goals by posting photos on Facebook. Share how a particular donation contributes to the overall dollars raised with a bar chart updated in real time.
4. Combine traditional storytelling with social technologies.
Nonprofits have always used storytelling to tug at the heartstrings of potential supporters. Now with the added elements of video, social networks and mobile technologies, storytelling can be more effective than ever. Create YouTube videos that focus on the stories of individuals helped by your mission. Dedicate a Facebook Page to the results of your mission by letting individuals post their stories and photos.
Looking for more marketing tips for nonprofits? Check out this post: 5 Marketing Tips for Small Budgets: Help for Nonprofit Organizations.