4 Social Media Trends for Nonprofits You Need to Know

Last week, the Social Media for Nonprofits conference in New York City was the place to be if you’re in the nonprofit industry. Around 11 of the most influential nonprofit speakers gathered in one place to talk about one thing—how nonprofits can get the most out of social media for fundraising, new initiatives and better engagement with their audiences.

Besides being smushed between two people on the flight home, it was an amazing trip and experience.

There were many issues discussed that can help nonprofits succeed with social media, but I wanted to focus on what nonprofits should be doing now—heck, what nonprofits should’ve been doing yesteryear. Here are four social media trends for nonprofits you need to know and need to be doing.

Don’t Just Let Social Media “Happen”

If you want to get something out of having a Facebook Page and Twitter account for your nonprofit organization, you need to put time into it. I realize that you’re very busy and you may not have as much time as you’d like to devote to social media, so have someone else do it. Young people love social media—hire an intern you can trust with your social media presence and start discussing what you want achieved.

Cheryl Black from Convio discussed the importance of being proactive and reactive with social media. I couldn’t agree more. Sure, you can get clicks from having absolutely stellar content, but that alone won’t always do the trick. Before anything happens, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish with social media. Once you’ve defined your goals, then you can start acting. If you want people to interact with you on social media, you need to start the interaction. Commenting on blog posts, retweeting good posts on Twitter and joining groups on LinkedIn are great ways to get your social media presence moving.

Google+ for Nonprofits

Hopefully you’re aware of Google’s plan to conquer the universe. Well, the Internet at least. And with the announcement of Google Search+, it’s more important than ever to claim your nonprofit’s space in Google+.

I got to attend the first Google+ for Nonprofits session presented by Google’s Alex Abelin last week. Of course, being in a session from Google, you’re going to hear that messages have been impersonal, comments aren’t conversations and that certain things lack staying power—all before Google+. Well, isn’t some of that true?

When your nonprofit starts to utilize Google+, you’ll find that you can manage the way you talk to your audience a lot differently. Take the time to create circles for certain organizations you interact with, prospective donors who you want to interact with you more and volunteers that help your nonprofit exist. With these circles, you can tailor your messages for specific groups of people instead of sending one message and hoping the right people see it—like before.

Don’t forget to check out the other cool features of Google+, like using Hangouts to chat with your different circles—by way of text, video or even sharing your screen.

Rethink the Way You Use Social Media

What’s your social media routine? Share a blog post, throw in an “ask,” upload a photo—is this familiar? This is fine, but you need to rethink how you’re doing these things, and if you’re doing it in a way your audience wants to be communicated.

Hearing Paull Young from charity:water speak, it reinforces the fact that people don’t want to feel guilty—so stop trying to do that. Instead of an “ask” that’s trying to tug on the guilt strings to spark action, think of ways you can inspire them instead. Telling stories that you’re proud of that will inspire your audience will get them to share it.

Use social media and be creative with it—and personal. We all hate generic notes that don’t speak to us personally. If you get people to donate to your cause, think of great ways you can thank them with a personal message. It could be a quick video, or it could be a handwritten note. Don’t be afraid to show them what their money did. Use these creative ways and social media to show your supporters where their funds went and how it had an impact on the community.

Make Fundraising More Social

Fundraising through social media is becoming more common because people feel good about giving online, so use it in a way that can drive action for your cause. Again, like what was said above, try not to make people feel guilty. Don’t paint them a picture similar to Sheryl Crow saving seals (I have nothing against seals).

Dave Boyce from Fundly suggests celebrating certain milestones within your nonprofit fundraising, sharing good press about your organization and, again, thanking your supporters. That can’t be emphasized enough. Think of other ways you and your nonprofit can create momentum on social media.

There they are—four social media trends for nonprofits that you should be adding to your mix. If you do, you’re bound to see some good results.

Remember that part up there about commenting on blog posts? You should start here.