Your Social Media Is For More Than Marketing

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In past blogs we’ve talked seemingly ad nausea about how technology, donation forms, and social media can support a nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. Social media in particular is where nonprofits are turning to get their mission talked about, with the ultimate goal of driving more donations to that mission.

According to Blackbaud’s 2014 M+R Benchmark Study, a nonprofit’s social media audience on Facebook and Twitter grew by 37 and 46 percent respectively in 2013. These numbers dwarf the growth of email distribution lists in 2013, which grew by a mere 14% during that time period.

That being said, there’s no doubting the importance of pushing marketing material to an audience that’s growing at such exponential rates. But, sometimes it’s important for nonprofits to take a step back and assess what their social media accounts, and the commentary on those accounts were designed to do.

Why did your nonprofit start its social media feed in the first place? Was it to better engage with community? Spread the word about your mission? Try and increase awareness about the problem your nonprofit is seeking to resolve?

The truth here is, fundraising has nothing to do with any of these goals. While no one is discrediting the importance of fundraising to the health of a nonprofit of any size, social media’s role must start being looked as more than a one trick pony.

Your followers deserve more than just a sales pitch, or constant pleas for more fundraising dollars.

Here are a few ways your nonprofit should start using its social media feeds today to bring more value to your followers.

  1. Reseach related to your nonprofit’s mission

    It’s important to share quality content that’s been created by others, especially when that content is reputable research that is directly related to your nonprofit and its mission. People love data points, facts, and tangible figures. If there’s any research out there that supports your mission (there is!), send out a few links to that research every now and then. It adds validity, substance, to your nonprofit’s Twitter feed..

  2. Engagement is crucial

    Your Twitter and Facebook feeds should not be used to simply regurgitate information, statistics, and content that’s you’ve created on your blog and newsletter. While disseminating this information through social is imperative, it is also immeasurably important to follow back, thank for retweets, favorite tweets, and ‘tweet @’ others in your space. Your Social feeds are a way for your nonprofit to engage with a community it would not otherwise be able to be a part of.

    However, it’s important to always remember that you need to still be engaged with that online community, not just be a part of it.

  3. Ask your community a question

    There’s not better way to get your community talking to you than simply asking a question. Just think about the community, what they might be interested in talking about, and entice them to start talking about it with a simple question. Here are a few sample question you can start asking today.

    • Like our blog? Let us know what we should cover next!
    • What makes you give back to your community?
    • What are you passionate about?

The bottom line is, if your nonprofit is spending too much time marketing on social media, you're missing out on what social media is all about. The community.

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