Nonprofits and Social Media

nonprofits-social-mediaQuite interesting panel of social media practitioners working for non-profits (Social Media Breakfast 17) concluded that right now… “we are still learning.”

Points from the discussion:

  • Some organizations reach the same audience through social media and use it as a different channel of communication. Others, however, are reaching different audience (usually younger or not local).
  • No good practice yet on managing local/national brunches of the organization (one Twitter account, or one per location, or one per […]?)
  • Fundraising: online is a good channel for low-level donations.
  • nonprofit-technology-networGetting an organization’s leadership on-board with social media might be difficult. In a political office, giving a camera to the politician was successful. However, “over-analyzing” can lead to delays… for one organization, thinking too long about setting a page on MySpace resulted to a lost MySpace opportunity; while the decision was discussed Facebook replaced MySpace as the most attractive channel.
  • Nonprofit organizations have the same concerns as for-profit organizations about social media. Nonprofits worry about message control and may not consider the new channel as anything more than a fleeting fad. However, the response is the same: the conversation is already happening… are we willing to join?
  • Separating (or not separating?) personal and organizational brand is still in discussion. The brand is often merged… but the leadership of the organization should be supportive. From personal perspective: maybe better to have a personal account? “Do you want your own brand to be what your job is?” However, the blurring is happening in practice.
  • Social-media-in-Twin-CitiesIdea for promotions of non-profits in social media “20 things you may not know about [….your organization…]”
  • An emphasis on making sure that channels/technologies need to be appropriate for the target audience (MySpace is used by African-American community, teenagers like texting).
  • If the organization has different brunches, sharing successes in social media can be effective (the channel is changing quickly)
  • Accessibility should be important for nonprofits: not everybody might have access to latest technology – the services might need to be duplicated via other channels.
  • Twitern (twittering intern) position – do not give somebody temporary manage you social media strategy
  • What is difference between nonprofit and for-profit organizations? Nonprofits are generally less controversial “everybody loves libraries!”  The motivation behind becoming  a fan of a nonprofit on Facebook might be different; a person might want to be seen by friends as a supported of a certain cause.
  • Some non-profit social media successes: library created a social catalog allowing commenting on the books and creating a reader profile, surprising success from fundraising through causes Facebook page, giving congressman a flip camera (camera is used, content is interesting for the voters). 


Kay Roseland took a few wonderful pictures from the event   one of which I used. However, I need to learn to smile when I happen to be among those who are photographed  😉


2 thoughts on “Nonprofits and Social Media

  1. Thanks for linking to my blog. BTW, I’m trying to get folks to use the #npsocial tag on Twitter to yack about stuff of interest to nonprofit social media pratitioners … hope you see you chattering on Twitter.


  2. Beth, thank you! I will remember to use #npsocial talking about Social Media for nonprofits on Twitter. Though I am in a job transition, I am also on the board of one of local professional associations. Your blog is a great resource!!

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