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This topic seems to have boiled over this week! I’ve been quizzed about it personally and seen blogs and tweets exploring the same question. Why should nonprofits use social media? What are the benefits? Why should we pour effort and time into a process of one-to-one relationships?

The value proposition

To my mind, the nonprofit mindset is a form of social media. Simply put, both nonprofit methodology and social media tools connect people with people on a personal, emotional, non-corporate basis. That makes nonprofits a natural fit for online social media. If you compare the benefits of both, it becomes even clearer.

Benefits of social media

Although the ROI is less direct to the financially focused eye, the community building return on social media investment can be golden. One of the foremost proofs of social media value is a marketing tenet: People are infinitely more prone to buy or believe in something based on the endorsement of someone they know over a commercial or spokesperson.

Its easier to gauge the value of any plan if you have a set of clear goals that establish your expectations.

Nonprofits depend on committed relationships with their members – their staunch fans based on a shared passion for a cause. Therefore, goals for connecting with members via social media must reflect that respect for the membership and your shared concern.

The list of goals attainable through social media includes:

  • Connecting with your membership
  • Providing an information source for your membership
  • Giving your members more ways to communicate with you
  • Giving your members more ways to communicate with each other
  • Creating a broader community and increasing membership

Because so many people are engaged in social media, maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and other sm tools, you are going to your members. You’re offering members ways to connect with you on their terms, where they’re comfortable and active.

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