- Fri, October 01 2010
- Filed under: Social Media
The following is a guest post from Joe Garecht. Joe is the founder of The Fundraising Authority, a blog offering hundreds of free articles on raising money for small and medium sized non-profits. I like Joe’s advice. And I’d add to his list the following: listen carefully to your supporters when they do speak up. Don’t Tweet or set up Facebook pages unless you’re ready for a two-way conversation. That’s what it’s all about.
Gone are the days when simply throwing up a quick website and sending out an occasional e-mail newsletter were considered being a socially-networked non-profit. Today, smart organizations know that the best way to stay in touch and engaged online is by interacting with donors, friends, and prospects on a regular basis – both through a website and through various social media outlets.
Unfortunately, while many non-profits have gotten the message that they need to have a social media presence, far fewer are successfully conversing with their networks through these mediums. Too many charitable organizations have gotten online, on Facebook, on Twitter, and started blogging– only to hit a wall when they find out no one is listening (or if they are, then they are not talking back). Here, in no particular order, are the top 5 reasons why your supporters, donors, and prospects aren’t interacting with your non-profit online:
1. They Don’t Know Where to Find You
When was the last time you gave your social media contact information out to donors? Is your Facebook page, Twitter name, and blog URL on your letterhead? Do you have a link to your LinkedIn profile on your website? If you don’t tell your donors, volunteers and prospects where to find you online, they never will.
2. You Haven’t Asked Them to Speak Up
Even if your network knows where to find you, many people won’t start interacting until you ask them to speak up. Start asking questions, seeking advice, and working the social networking “grassroots.” Tell your supporters you want to hear from them, make them feel like part of your team, and ask them to speak up.
3. You Don’t Have a “Voice”
It’s no surprise that people like talking with people– If your identity on social networks is too “corporate” and cold, it’s unlikely that your network will want to have a conversation with you. Your supporters want to talk to you, but they need to know who “you” are. Make sure that one or more of your staffers or volunteers become the voice of your non-profit on social networking sites, so that your supporters will see a real person behind the status updates and blog posts.
4. You’re not Fishing Where They are Swimming
What social networks are your supporters already participating in? If your donors aren’t on Twitter, it is unlikely that they will sign up and start using the service just for you. Ask your donors, volunteers and prospects what sites they frequent before you invest time and energy in communicating over that medium. Fish where your network is already swimming.
5. They Don’t Feel Safe with You
Does your support network feel safe interacting with you on social sites? Or are people afraid that if they converse too much, ask too many questions, or offer too much advice, they will immediately get hit up for volunteer hours, donations, and more? Yes, you should use your social networks for fundraising and other types of support, but only if your donors and friends feel safe with you, and know that those solicitations, while necessary, are only a small fraction of the total conversation they are having with you online.