Are you a small nonprofit organization, based in a single community? Congratulations: you have natural advantages when it comes to social media.
What are your advantages? The same strengths that social media maven Mark Schaefer sees for small businesses–only more so.
Local angle. “I could care less about a tweet from a mega-brand,” Schaefer writes, “but I would certainly be interested to get to know a local shop owner in a personal way.” The people you serve, their families, your staff and Board, their families and friends, your city council, your school committee, and all your donors and volunteers are interested in you in real life. They might be interested in you on Facebook or Twitter, too…but only if you show you’re interested in them.
Personal touch. As a small nonprofit, you can know more of your supporters personally. This one is always talking about raising a biracial child. That one prides herself on her mouthwatering vegetarian recipes. When you can provide useful information on a subject they care about , your supporters will notice. (And they will always appreciate a compliment!)
Relationships. Businesses, and large nonprofits, are tempted to look at everything in terms of ROI, Return On Investment. They miss the intangible results that small nonprofits perceive. If your supporters are telling you, “I loved that picture you posted,” or if they’re sharing information that you put out, or if municipal officials are treating you with more respect, you know you are building loyalty that will help you sooner or later.
Don’t Hide Your Light
“But I don’t know how to use social media,” you say. “And I don’t have the time.” You do know how to be social in real life, right? A good consultant can train you on how to do social online. A consultant can also help you use your time to best effect, or you can pay him or her to be your online voice.
Is it worth it? Using social media well means getting closer to the people who matter most to your organization. Yes, that’s worth doing. You are ideally positioned to do it. Go ahead: let your light shine!
David Crowley says
Thanks for the post, Dennis. Many of the examples of nonprofits doing well on social media tend to focus on large national organizations, so it’s nice to have someone shine the light on what smaller nonprofits can do in the space.
Dennis Fischman says
David, you’re right, and that’s what moved me to write this post. I am tired of hearing about what charity:water does. They might as well be Bank of America, for how closely they resemble the community-based nonprofits that I know and love. I know you at Social Capital Inc. are committed to helping people build networks where they live. They should know what they have going for them!
And this is why I’ve always been attracted to grassroots organizations!
Dennis Fischman says
Me too, Diana. They’re my favorite groups to work for.