It seems that everyone is claiming they are experts in social media. My credentials include Facebook for friends, Linked In for business contacts, I use Twitter @merskyjaffe – and I try to keep up-to-date through research and discussions. The more I have learned, the more I realized that whether or not I am an expert is irrelevant.
Are you going to hire Mersky, Jaffe & Associates because I call myself a social media guru (which I do not)? No, you are going to engage us because you have faith that we will provide you with a range of expertise that can improve your nonprofit across the board. Every capital campaign or annual fund improvement project starts with an assessment of your internal resources, systems to ensure best practices. Marketing included. And social media, when discussing nonprofits, is essentially a form of marketing.
Marketing is not a one-way process. A brochure and website are essential but stagnant for the increasingly technologically savvy. Think of a blog, social media network or RSS feeds as a way to interact with the donor on a regular basis. Sure, someone has to create content and updates, but you are also creating a reason for like-minded people to return to your organization again and again.
The mantra of marketing as it relates to development remains the same across all media – the more contact that individuals have with your organization, the more likely they will become and remain donors.
Taking on something like this can seem daunting. But keep in mind, that no matter what you do – you are not going to do it all. Unless you have the resources to focus one full-time individual on this, you will only scratch the surface. So, be strategic in your choices and realistic in your expectations.
I can’t stress this last point enough. This is a priority – but certainly not more so than thank you notes to donors or updating your website. Incorporate the aspects that you can and move on. Marketing requires focus, but as anyone who currently belongs to a social networking site will tell you – it can easily take up extra hours. This is particularly a problem for those with personal accounts on these sites. Set strict rules for staff. For instance, ask that the site be updated at 5:30pm everyday. so that if someone gets caught up in a personal network – it won’t affect your efficacy as an organization.
If this article is too superficial for your needs, click here to email me for specific advice.