Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Every non-profit organization believes it’s the World’s Best Kept Secret. And in many cases, that’s true. You’ve been around for more than a decade, accomplished amazing and beneficial results, and is a blessing in the do-good community. Yet, beyond your stakeholders (staff, board of directors, members, and volunteers), too few in the general public know you exist.
However, many nonprofits neglect a major asset that if tapped, could help spread the word and lift it from shadow to spotlight. Best of all, this asset is close at hand and likely eager to help out -- it’s those stakeholders introduced in the opening paragraph.
We’re all aware print media is becoming an endangered species, with newspapers dropping weight as quickly as a Jenny Craig commercial. And the competition to tell your story on radio or TV gets more difficult with programming budget cuts. Instead of wringing hands at these depressing developments, turn to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (free social media sites) --and your stakeholders -- to bring more attention to your nonprofit. Here are 10 suggestions:
1. Take a survey of your stakeholders to learn how many have accounts on these sites.
2. Encourage those who are not on to sign up.
3. Host a workshop where interested stakeholders can learn tips on getting the most out of social media for themselves and your organization.
4. If your nonprofit doesn’t already have a Fan Page on Facebook, set one up. A techie on board, or a hired consultant, can accomplish this easily.
5. Post relevant information at least once daily to your social media pages, i.e. upcoming events, campaigns, links to your blog, newsworthy items, recent organizational or individual accomplishments.
6. With your stakeholders now in the social media game, urge them to “Like” your Fan page. This relationship will now be published on their Profile pages with a link their friends can explore.
7. Suggest stakeholders invite Facebook friends to “Like” your organization’s page. Also, their friends can “Follow” it on Twitter, and join your LinkedIn network, thus spreading your name further into the social media world.
8. If you’re hosting an event, be sure to create it on your Facebook Fan and LinkedIn pages. Remember to post Save-The-Date updates to all of your social media sites. Your stakeholders can then link to the event alerting their own friends and attracting additional attention and guests.
9. Urge stakeholders to use the private message options in Facebook and LinkedIn to invite their friends to the event.
10. Provide your stakeholders with the name, cell phone number, and e-mail address of your techie. Thus, if frustration or bewilderment arises, the techie can immediately mollify and get your valuable assets back on board.