The Best-Laid Plans of Nonprofit Marketers

The other day I checked my inbox and found an email from a social marketing tool I had tried out recently. I typically tune out these sorts of messages, expecting them to be yet another ask to upgrade to a paid account. However, this time I opened the email to find a short message about a new feature—one that lets you “freeze” your scheduled posts.

It took a moment for it to sink in that this feature and email was a response to the tragic shooting in Las Vegas.

For nonprofits trying to make the most of social media or email marketing, the ability to compose and schedule posts, tweets, or emails to go out at a later day and time has been a crucial feature. Instead of spending an hour or two each day to compose and send messages, you can schedule a week’s worth of tweets on Monday morning and move on to higher-priority tasks. While a proven time-saver, it’s all too easy for your scheduled posts to backfire when crisis strikes.

From celebrity deaths to natural disasters to national tragedies, current events are unpredictable. That light-hearted tweet or dire fundraising appeal that seemed appropriate even a few hours ago becomes kryptonite for your reputation when disaster strikes.

So how do you schedule around the unpredictable? Basically, you don’t. Pausing your fundraising campaign will cause far less damage to your organization than an insensitive or poorly-timed message. You can’t simply “set it and forget it.” Monitoring your social feeds and being prepared to interrupt your messaging at any time is now the norm.

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