The value of social media for nonprofits is unlike any other channel of communication. Donors are already online, many of them having conversations about your nonprofit or the missions you’re working for. These conversations will happen with or without your involvement, but by taking an active role in social media, you can get noticed through the conversation, which can directly link your organization to its cause. You can also more easily reach out to individuals, or groups of donors, to bring your message to the top of their mind. Have you wanted to increase or even start your organization’s use of social media?

Sometimes the biggest obstacle in implementing a social marketing campaign comes from skepticism from executives or board members, worried about their return on investment (ROI). Here are some quick hints on how to open their eyes to the real benefits and indisputable necessity of social media.

  1. Don’t be a dinosaur. Late adapters to new technology will always have a tougher time getting the results or involvement that early adopters enjoy. The beauty of social media is that, for the most part, creating accounts is free. Don’t hesitate to try out new channels, or at least reserve your organization’s name by registering it before someone else does. Being known as a late adopter will lead to difficulty gaining followers, talented employees and even volunteers.
  2. Hit them with stats! Statistics don’t lie. They can provide you with hard numbers to justify involvement in social media. Data from the Pew Research Center indicates that 71% of online adults use Facebook and that 63% of Facebook users visit the site daily, many visit multiple times per day. That’s a lot of opportunity to reach people with your message! Our Next 10 Years in Digital Fundraising study found that 85% of nonprofit professionals predict social media’s role in fundraising to increase over the next decade.
  3. Share your story. Social media doesn’t just represent a potential source of crowdfunded donations; it’s a place supporters go to learn about the companies, organizations and topics that interest them. Post regularly to become a source of information your followers will seek out and share with their friends. This will help with overall branding and even get some donations flowing your way.
  4. Everyone else is doing it. Don’t overlook the influence a little peer pressure can have. Board members or executives are always watching out for the competition, hearing that your closest competitor is active on social channels might be the kick they need to approve your own involvement. Remember, if you’re not on social media talking to donors and followers, someone else is.

Don’t just take our word for it though! There are tons of great examples of nonprofits that are already using social media to make a big impact. #GivingTuesday 2014 was a huge success, according to the Case Foundation and many others, thanks in part to a strong presence across social media. The campaign received 698,500 hashtag mentions and had over 32 million impressions on Twitter. Water is Life was able to hijack an already popular hashtag on Twitter to spread their message, causing their video to go viral and resulting in funds to provide over a million days’ worth of clean water to those in need. The San Diego Zoo maintains an Instagram account that features pictures and videos of their animals, allowing people to view the work they do and messages they want to distribute in a way that cannot be matched by other communication channels. Find examples of nonprofits similar to yours that are already active on social media, and use these to help get the green light for social media from your board members.

For more tips on social media marketing, check out these articles:
The Next Web – Social Media Campaigns
Social Media Examiner – 5 Tips for Running Successful Social Media Campaigns
Artillery Marketing – How to Build a Social Media Campaign