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Effective social media strategies for nonprofits

There is certainly a lot of buzz among nonprofits about using social media tools for promoting events and for connecting with volunteers and donors. In fact, there is so much of it I’m almost feeling overwhelmed by the attention being devoted to this subject.

Now, I’m not a dinosaur who doesn’t want to adapt to new ways. I do get it and I do understand that social media use is not just a fad. It is now an established method of communication that any organization wanting continued success must utilize. In addition, the rate that individuals are signing up for some form of social media is staggering.

These new sources of information now rival – and may soon outstrip – the telephone, newspapers, television, direct mail, newsletters, email, and about every other traditional form of outreach that organizations have used in the past. However, what about those who have not yet adapted to them?

Professional speaker friend Monica Wofford often talks about staying on task and not being distracted by “shiny objects.” While working to implement your social media strategies, don’t let them be shiny objects that draw you away from your other communication activities.

Social media tools should be used to strengthen your current forms of communication: this should not be thought of as an either/or choice. Take these steps:

  • Identify your audiences.
  • Decide what forms of communication are the most effective for the demographic groups you are trying to reach.
  • If you are unsure, ask them how they prefer to be communicated with.

People have preferred communication comfort zones. Don’t lose those you’ve have worked to build relationships with by focusing so much on new communication techniques that you stop doing what has proven successful at keeping you connected with your existing base of supporters.

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