There is no doubt about it – social networking has changed the game in terms of how people communicate, share information and learn about new things in their lives.
With 73% of online adults using at least one social network and almost half (42%) of all online adults using multiple platforms, nonprofits that do not embrace this tectonic shift will get left behind.
However, some nonprofit boards and staff members are still skeptical and even fearful of jumping into the social media ocean.
If you want to explore using social media for your nonprofit but are receiving push back, here are 8 ideas for making the case.
1) Explain the reality of communications today.
In her great new book Mobile for Good, nonprofit social media expert Heather Mansfield explains that nonprofits now have to engage and interact with five different generations of supporters.
Social media participation crosses the majority of these five generations. Not only that, it has completely changed and revolutionized how people communicate and how they receive information.
For a nonprofit organization to stick their head in the sand and simply deny that this revolution exists does a disservice to the mission of the organization.
2) Show the statistics.
Here are some compelling statistics that should help convince the social media skeptics:
57% of Facebook users “Like” a charity or cause on Facebook so they can publicly show support of it to their friends.
47% of Americans discover and/or learn more about causes they care about via social media and online channels.
The average donation made via social media is $59 and growing every year.
3) Share stories.
We all know that statistics are not nearly as compelling as stories. To help convince a skeptical board and ED, you need to show what other nonprofits are doing – large and small.
St. Baldrick’s is using Facebook to raise thousands of dollars – and they only post a few times a week to Facebook.
Muttville Dog Rescue has used Facebook to increase their adoptions and raise awareness about fostering dogs.
4) Create a policy.
Higher-ups may be scared of opening a can of worms full of negativity and criticism. However, if your organization has policies in place, dealing with the (hopefully rare) negative Nelly is a cinch.
Provide the skeptics with sample social media policies that they can adapt – there are a ton of examples available online.
5) Develop a plan.
Many EDs and supervisors at nonprofits are so focused on putting out fires every single day their eyes glaze over when you bring up adding one more thing. The thought of feeding the social media machine can seem overwhelming.
However, if there is a plan in place and a strategy in place, it may be better received. Use my free social media calendar template to get started and create a plan for how it will all get done.
6) Make it about your supporters.
Explain that social media channels are additional, very effective tools to add to your nonprofit toolbox of cultivating supporters.
Being active and present on social media networks is another way to show your organization that you are a good steward of funds, that you are having an impact on the world.
Remember – cultivating trust and credibility is never a waste of time.
7) Start small.
Start small and grow from there. Do not attempt to be on more than two social networks if you are just starting out and do not have a dedicated social media staff person.
Begin with what you are most comfortable with, so the learning curve won’t be as drastic. Explain to your supervisor that you will regularly evaluate and measure what you are doing online.
8) Just do it.
Show them what it would look like for the nonprofit to have a Facebook Page. You can always unpublish it or take it down later.
Have some ideas ready so that the board or ED can see your nonprofit on social media for themselves – it will make it more tangible.
In conclusion, social media and online marketing can be a scary prospect for some organizations.
People who do not use social media in their personal lives may not see the value and may be fearful of what they do not know.
Try to understand the cause of the skepticism and provide policies and plans to combat it. may be scared, hesitant, spea, in their language, try to understand what’s really behind it.
How do you combat social media skeptics within your organization?