Your Social Media is a Stepping Stone, Not a Bridge

Building a bridge implies that your social media can take your organization all the way to the other side of donations. It’s true, social media is a great way to market your organization. But it’s not the overall solution for your organization. The only way to ensure that social media works for your organization is to use it as a larger working piece in conjunction with other things like your website, direct mail campaigns and other fundraising asks (AKA stepping stones).

And social media for nonprofits plays an integral role in engaging supporters. If used correctly, it can help drive supporters to give. Here’s why you need social media in your organization’s communications plan, and how to use it as a stepping stone instead of a bridge.

You Need it (if Your Audience is There)

Let’s face it. Your organization is going to have to be incredibly specialized in order to not need a social media presence. Is your organization’s demographic mainly boomers and beyond? Guess what—they’re online too. That argument is no longer valid because people from every generation are using the web to connect.

Why are you on social media? Social media gives us an outlet to connect with the people and things that we care about. So use it that way.

It’s Working, but There’s Work to Do

Social media users might be more charitable than you think. From the survey, 51 percent of respondents said they had heard about new social good initiatives through social media (keep up the good work, everyone!).

That’s not a bad number. But there’s still work to do. When reaching out to engage supporters and volunteers, keep these things in mind:

  • Think before you post. If you wouldn’t “like” the post yourself, don’t post it. There has to be value. Too often we post just to post and meet a quota. Provide your followers with something they can’t ignore.
  • Vary the types of content you’re posting. It’s great to tell your followers about a fundraiser, but your content has to have more depth than that. Constantly asking for money via social sites is a quick way to lose interest. Nobody wants to be hounded for money constantly, so vary your content.
  • Find out why your audience loves you in the first place. Too often we post what we think our audience is looking for instead of things that actually matter to them. And the best way to find that out? Ask them. Send out a survey to your followers to gauge what they’ve liked so far and what they’d like to see from your organization. Even sending out a survey shows that you value their opinion.

Social Media Can’t be the End-Goal

Here’s where the stepping stone comes in. You’re trying to drive traffic to your website, because that’s where people are converted to donors. And you need the design and functionality to make sure it’s easy for donors to get from point A to point B (social media to your donation form). Use social media so donors can easily step onto your site and donate.

Once there, you should have a compelling site with clear calls-to-action so that donating is easy.

How have you used social media to get users to ultimately donate to your organization?


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

September 23, 2014

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