Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits

Mar 06, 2014
Jason Baumann

social media strategy for non-profits

I spent many years of my career working for non-profits in the Chicagoland area. I have worked for what I believe to be some of the most amazing charities – the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago, Archdiocese of Chicago and the Starlight Children’s Foundation. One thing that I learned is that social media can make a big impact in this industry.

In an industry where every dollar matters, social media can be a great tool. Marketing and communication dollars are hard to come by in a charity where dollars are often preferred to be spent on those who need it most over marketing. Therefore,  social media is a low-cost communications platform. Maximizing the results of social media becomes critically important.

Too often, charities turn to social media for peer-to-peer fundraising. For those not in this industry, this is those personal fundraising pages setup by your friends when they run a race, shave their head or embark in some other fundraising endeavor. According to our data, these have not been a game changer in fundraising.

So, where does social media make the most impact in fundraising? In the non-profit world, social media will make the greatest impact in awareness – or bringing attention to your cause – and events. I am going to give you two ways to use social media in the non-profit world.

1. Mission – Non-profits have amazing missions. Make-A-Wish helps children with life-threatening medical conditions by offering a magical break from a reality filled with doctors, exams and hospitals. Easter Seals helps individuals with disabilities maximize their independence. The Archdiocese fulfills a spiritual need. Use social media to make people feel and experience your mission. Use different platforms to reach different people with different types of content. That will bring people to your organization eventually opening their pocketbooks. I think the Make-A-Wish Foundation does an amazing job of this with videos, released by both the foundation and their partners, that evoke an hugely-emotional response.

2. Events – Next, many non-profit budgets are driven by event revenue. Building and engaging an active audience is critical to succeeding with non-profits. When you have established this audience, match your social media audiences with the respective events and build a social media strategy around each event. Also, use social media as part of the event, if you do this, you open the door of the event to an international market. There are so many creative ways you can incorporate social media into paddle raises, auctions, mission aspects of events, etc.

The possibilities are endless. People like to be inspired. People like to shocked. People like to be moved. Non-profits have the most amazing content to do this. Your job as the social media person at a non-profit is to pair this amazing content with creative campaigns and the right platform.

Boxless Media is dedicated to seeing non-profits succeed. We are here to help. Give us a buzz if your non-profit needs help. We take on a limited number of pro bono clients and offer exceptional pricing to non-profits that do not qualify for our pro bono services.


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