Every Monday I will create a short video answering a question from a member of the Nonprofit Social Media Storytelling Group. We call it #MailbagMonday! Check back each Monday inside the Group to see if I answer your question!
This week’s question is a good one and it’s part of the reason that I created the Group in the first place.
What are some challenges other storytellers have with creating and curating content?
I’m going to speak to the challenges that I address with my clients, and some that I’ve seen in the Group, and offer up some solutions for you.
I would love for you to add your own unique challenges in the comments!
Here are the top 5 challenges that I see faced by nonprofit digital storytellers when creating and curating fantastic digital content.
- No buy-in from higher ups or staff.
- Confidentiality issues.
- Overwhelm – chasing every flashy new idea.
- Not know what their audience wants to hear from them.
- No focus on value, just focusing on promotion and pushing out messages.
Briefly, how to address these challenges:
1) No buy-in.
This is a tricky one, but it goes without saying that you need buy-in from staff or supervisors about the kind of content that you want to create and share on digital platforms.
If you find that people are unwilling to share stories, take photos, or help you collect the kind of digital content that you want to share, a complete culture shift may be in order.
Shift the workplace culture to one that welcomes storytelling and information sharing.
Tell stories at staff meetings and Board meetings.
Have a storytelling training, or attend a workshop.
Download the free cheat sheet – How to Create A Culture of Storytelling At Your Nonprofit.
2) Confidentiality issues.
I ran the development shop (i.e. me, myself and I) at a small nonprofit serving women and children who had experienced domestic and sexual violence, so I understand this problem well.
In many cases, even if they wanted to share their stories, the clients’ identities needed to be protected for their own safety.
Solution – Get creative.
*Speak with alumni of the program to gather success stories. At the domestic violence program where I worked we spoke with women and children who had moved on from the program and were leading successful, healthy lives.
*Collect stories from your donors as to why they give, and from your volunteers as to why they volunteer. They all have stories of their own and a reason to be giving back to your organization, some of them will welcome the opportunity to share it with others.
*Find a local celebrity. At the program where I worked, we contacted a local news anchor who lost a sister to domestic violence to come speak at our annual breakfast. She spoke eloquently and emotionally about how she wished that her sister could have found a program like ours – it may have saved her life.
My advice for combating analysis paralysis and the overwhelm of shiny new tools: Prioritize those platforms that a) you like to use and b) your audience likes to use.
Want to reach millennial women? Instagram and Pinterest are a good bet.
Want to reach a wider general audience? There are almost 2 billion people on Facebook.
Need to raise more money? Email has the highest ROI (return on investment) for nonprofits of all digital channels.
Here are the two of the most frequently asked questions that I receive:
1. What social media tools should I use?
2. How much time should I spend on social media?
The answer is – I can’t give you these answers. I need you to answer some questions for me first.
(Note: If anyone gives you answers to the 2 questions above without asking you at least 5 questions first, they do not know what they’re doing.)
Answer these questions:
What do you do? What is your mission?
Who are your clients? Who are your supporters? Which social media platforms do they use?
What are you trying to accomplish? Can it reasonably be accomplished by spending one hour a week on social media or by spending 2 hours a day?
Why do you think you need to be on social media? What do you think that these new communication channels can do for you?
If you are only jumping on a new digital platform to promote your events and raise emergency funds, you need to rethink your strategy.
So, to answer the questions above:
1. There are no right or wrong tools to use – it depends on your target audience and where they are.
2. There is no right amount of time to spend on social media – it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
Remember, digital platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blogging) are tools that help you reach your target audience to achieve your desired objectives.
Develop the WHY first, and the HOW will follow.
4) Not knowing what your audience wants to hear and 5) Only using social media to promote things and not getting engagement.
These challenges are related.
Take out a piece of paper and write down everything you know about your audience.
- What do they want to know more about?
- What gets them “passionately inspired or pissed off”?
- Where are their knowledge gaps?
- Think like a journalist – what is the hook?
- Relate what you do to current events and topics that people are already discussing/debating.
- Think beyond your organization.
- Think about the bigger cause itself.
Think about what your audience really needs and wants to hear from you – what would add value to their busy lives?
Becoming a go-to resource is NOT about what you want to tell your audience – it’s about what they want to know, learn, and hear.
How to Build Your Nonprofit Email List Using Your Website & Social Media
Your email list is essentially the communicative lifeblood of your nonproﬁt.
Okay, that was a little dramatic, but seriously, your nonproﬁt needs a robust and plentiful email list to continue engaging your community and garnering support.
But how does your nonproﬁt go about building this active email list, you might ask?
Via your nonproﬁt’s website and social media proﬁles of course!
J Campbell Social Marketing has partnered with Elevation to bring you this free guide to building your nonprofit email list, using the tools that you already have!