Social Media for Nonprofits Takeaways
Posted Aug 10, 2011 by Daniil Karp
July was the unofficial Social Media for Nonprofits month thanks to the SM4NP Conferences. We learned so much in San Francisco, New York City and Washington, D.C. that we wanted to share the takeaways of our presentation as well as some highlights from the social media and nonprofit heavyweights with whom we shared the stage.
The Causes Take – The Secret Sauce of Online Fundraising
Causes’ secret sauce for online fundraising success has 4 main ingredients. First you’ll need to build community. Social media starts as a space to regularly update your supporters about your organization’s work. This space becomes a community when you engage with your supporters by sharing media, asking and answering questions, recognizing your top supporters and encouraging peer-to-peer interactions.
Transparency and engagement
The second step is taking advantage of best practices and creating a campaign that gives online donors what they want. With data from over 1,100 fundraising campaigns on Causes, our donors have revealed preferences for projects with the following attributes: a tangible impact on the community you’re serving; a compelling narrative that tells the story of your work; inspiring media in the form of videos and photos; and, the opportunity for your most engaged supporters to fundraise from their networks on your behalf.
Cross-channel promotion and momentum
Once your project is set up the next step is cross-channel promotion. When you launch your project, comprehensively sharing it with all your supporters through the channels they use is vital to your projects success. After all, someone who follows you on Twitter may not be on your email list — don’t be afraid of overexposure. Finally, the last ingredient is the Big Mo’; gathering momentum and generating excitement around your project are the most important things you can do to ensure success.
What We Learned
Susan Tenby of Tech Soup had our favorite takeaway on social media metrics: “retweets are more important than followers.” Remember, social media is a peer-to-peer communications medium not a top-down publishing platform. The best practice is to engage your supporters in conversation and to track horizontal discussions and engagement, not the number of likes on a post.
JD Lasica of Socialbrite had the clearest approach for getting started on social media: identify what metrics you need to measure, determine the tools you’ll need to track those metrics, and then adjust your strategy. Your goals will help you be more successful.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the conferences and especially to @SM4NP for bringing everyone together — we’re looking forward to much more!