Nonprofits and Social Media

socmedHow do most smaller nonprofits without dedicated marketers use social media? Generally, badly! Here are a few quick tips to help shape your social media habits, and give you a base upon which you can build your social online presence:

Appreciate your corporate sponsors fully and repeatedly, not only on your site and Facebook page, but on your sponsors’ blogs, Facebook pages, and wherever else they post. Enlist the help of your event team, including volunteers and perhaps even the people you serve, to make certain all sponsors have been very thoroughly thanked online. You’ll want to give them every reason to see the benefits of sponsoring you next year as well.

Think about generating a Wikipedia page for your organization. Once you have written and uploaded it, monitor it to make certain no one adds information that is not accurate. While you’re at it, reserve your organization’s name in Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. You will want the option of using any one of these virtual venues down the road, even if you don’t foresee the platform as useful at present.

Don’t forget about email. When you post on Facebook or Twitter, know that we are growing increasingly fatigued with the glut of social media messaging and most maintain only a periodic or a cyclical interest in any given platform. All of us on the other hand are still engaged daily by our email inbox. However, be mindful of the legislative changes coming to email marketing July 1st, especially the definitions of both implied and explicit consent under the new law.  The imminent Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) stipulates that you must have a pre-existing relationship with an email recipient, based on a real identity and not a virtual identity or alias. According to CASL: “Using social media or sharing the same network does not necessarily reveal a personal relationship between individuals. The mere use of buttons available on social media websites – such as clicking “like”, voting for or against a link or post, accepting someone as a “Friend”, or clicking “Follow” – will generally be insufficient to constitute a personal relationship.” And remember: no more “opting out” (Sorry, Rogers…).

Future recipients of your eblasts, e-newsletters, e-announcements, etc., will have had to “opt in” to receiving them. Consider putting an email consent option in a logical spot on your website, and develop the practice of simply asking for explicit verbal consent to email during phone conversations with new contacts. (For example: “May I email you the details?”)

For information on the changes coming, check out . So no more email blasts to all who ‘like’ you, or ‘follow’ you. It may be time to revert to printed postcards or newsletters for community awareness campaigns, time once again to rely more heavily on traditional print methods in your fundraising, and generally any time you wish to cultivate new contacts. Make certain you consider print in your next social mix.