Social Media for Non Profits

The not-for-profit marketing mantra:  I don’t have a lot of money for marketing, I don’t have a big staff, but I have a lot of people who would help if I had a good way to connect them. 

Sound familiar?  Not-for-profits have always been understaffed and significantly budget constrained almost by definition.  As marketing goes, social media has an opportunity to be the equalizer, the force multiplier and the inexpensive alternative for non profits.  The trend with companies is to market under a cause.  They are attempting to tie their brands to non profits, charities and other causes that have a real or perceived value to their end users.

What’s interesting is that overall, non profits have yet to capitalize on this movement.  With social media being as effective as you make it and possibly the lowest cost form of marketing and advertising that a non profit will use, they are still using it as a way to push interactive newsletters and help automate content distribution channels.  In fact, according to a survey earlier this year from CharityVillage more than 80% of non profits use social media to promote awareness as a primary function and second place use for social media was Personal (60%+)!  Excerpt of results below:

When asked what purpose they are using social media for, they told us:

  • Promote our organization – 83.3%
  • For personal use – 61.1%
  • Attract new members – 55.6%
  • Increase event registration – 44.4%
  • Receive donations – 33.3%
  • Attract youth support – 27.8%

Other uses:

Research, Networking, Prospecting, Volunteer and staff communications, Public awareness/education, Promote a cause, Provide knowledge and research to other not-for-profits, Build fundraisers vs. donors (support network +)

What’s more interesting is that the next question they asked about was how much of the non profit’s budget was going to social media.  An overwhelming 75% claimed less than 1% of their budget was going towards social media.

Companies in the private sector are moving billions of dollars to social media resulting in large percentages of their overall marketing budgets and the one’s who could benefit the most, non-profits, are not yet fully realizing the potential that social media can represent.  What is the disconnect?  I might argue that non-profits in general are poor marketers so why would this be any different.  On the flip-side, I would argue that non-profits ARE stronger operationally.  However there are many ways in which non-profits could become much stronger operationally using social media too.  With that, I may simply be a lack or education, creativity and know how.  If that’s the case, we may have the answer.  For our moderator this week, we have invited Beth Kanter to lead this discussion.  As the CEO of Zoetica, Beth is one of the foremost authorities on social media for non profits in the world.  For our discusison, we will cover the following topic and questions:

Topic:  Social Media for Non Profits

 Q1:  How can social media work for non profits? (Backstory: we know they have time and need money / sometimes volunteers. Can social help this & how?)

Q2:  What is the easiest way for an NPO to figure out how to do social?

Q3:  What are some of the best case studies of NPO’s using Social and what was the impact?

Join us Tuesday 8/17 at noon eastern for our weekly discussion.  Beth will start the first question at 12 noon and introduce the follow-up questions every 20 minutes from there.  Feel fre to participate or follow along using #sm73 from your favorite Twitter client or simply go to our live page at www.hashtagsocialmedia.com/live.

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