Three ways any nonprofit can get more from social media

If you’re like most nonprofits, you’ve started using social media or are at least thinking about starting. You may have had a lot of successful experiences that you’ve learned and grown from.

Or you’ve dipped your toe and are just plain scared and confused.

Regardless of where you’re at in becoming a Networked Nonprofit, you can always improve how your org uses social media.

1. Redefine ROI


Graph by @mintblogger

The place where your organization falls on the continuum between being a fortressed nonprofit and being a  networked nonprofit will define how you look at ROI.

Transactionally-based organizations tend to view ROI as “Return On Investment”, looking mainly at donations or database acquisition.

With little understand of how social media can benefit your org, who can blame you for viewing ROI from a traditional, more familiar framework. “We invest in the thing called ‘social media’, and we get back the same things we’ve always gotten our other marketing channels. Right?”.

Not so much.

Redefining ROI from a networked nonprofit perspective opens up new possibilities. Consider these other ways you could view ROI:

  • Return on Insight – How do people feel about your organization? How to they discuss your cause?
  • Return on Interest – How can you find and engage with people who are already interested in what you do? How can you create even more interest?
  • Return on Ideas – What can we learn from our peers and “competitors”? Who’s talking about your cause in remarkable ways?
  • Return on Intensity – What if we could amplify the voices of our existing fans? How would that help us change the world?

2. Start Mud Wrestling

In the Networked Nonprofit, Beth Kanter and Alison Fine state that social media is a “contact sport” rather than a “spectator sport”.

I’ll take it one step further and call it Mud Wrestling.

You have to be willing to get dirty, look dumb and be caught off guard in order to learn how to use social media successfully.

The more willing you are to do this, the better and faster your success will be. Jumping in to the mud also allows you to learn the native tongue and become “one of them”.

And by the way, your fans are very forgiving of mistakes. In fact, they’ll love you for them.

3. Go Local

Facebook Places at University of Kentucky

Geosocial apps make offline events the ultimate viral engine.

Start thinking about how to create events that people can’t help but talk about! Then give them the tools and a little direction.

Also start thinking about using QR codes at your event to make it easy for people to take action online – while they’re there.

Join the #zooGood Twitter chat

Geoff Livingston and Razoo will be hosting the #zooGood Twitter chat on fundraising best practices tomorrow night (10/26) at 9:00PM (EST). We’ll be discussing more ways that nonprofits can ensure success with social media.

What do you think? Comment below

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John Haydon