Wed, August 07 2013

Why you must stop ignoring social

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Social Media •

This week, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released their latest findings on social media adoption. Even if you’re a socially savvy fundraiser, you’ll find these stats interesting. If you’re still skeptical about social media, this is a wake-up call.

Think about this: Seventy-two percent of all adults online now use social networking sites. While it’s true that younger adults are the most likely social media users, it’s important to know that social media adoption for older Internet users has skyrocketed in the last few years. Some key stats:

  • 6 out of 10 Internet users ages 50 to 64 are social media users
  • 43% of Internet users 65 and older are social media users
  • Social media adoption rates for those 65 and older have tripled in the past 4 years
  • 54% of adults age 65+ and 77% of those ages 50 to 64 years old are online (Who’s Online, via Pew)


These trends are only going to grow as generations of netizens age and as technology becomes more ubiquitous and easy to use. As platforms emerge and evolve, the core principles of social activity online will remain very familiar. The time to figure it out is now. So, what does this mean for you?

Stop pretending your older donors aren’t online. Your 60+ donors are not only online, they’re adopting social media as a means of keeping up with the people, brands, and causes they love. More than half of 60+ donors are giving online. Remember: Whether or not your donors ultimately choose to give online, they’re using search, social media, and your website to learn more about you. How are you helping them make the decision to give? Are you making it easy for them to opt to give online?

Create a social media strategy that fits your audience and your mission. It’s not important for you to become a social media expert overnight or to have profiles on every social network. It is important for your nonprofit to have a social media presence on the platforms where your audience already gathers. Pinpoint where the richest conversations about your cause take place and start there.

Find ways to reinforce your message and be part of the conversation via social media. The first rule of social media is: Be present. You can’t just “set it and forget it”; embrace the opportunity to communicate directly with people who are passionate about your cause. Be responsive, ask questions, and provide value. Social media is not just another broadcast channel, it’s a crucial way to build relationships and be top of mind.

Do you have a social media strategy in place for your organization? How are you connecting with older donors online? Chime in with your tips in the comments below or post your social media questions for discussion.

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