Many nonprofit organizations understand that a strong web presence is vital to their ongoing success. The content they share on their website tells their story and mission to donors, volunteers, and supporters. Through integrating social media into their overall website and communication strategy, their reach can be expanded beyond their community on a daily basis, connecting with more people who believe in what their organization is doing, building successes along the way.
What are the Nonprofit’s Goals?
- Educate and raise awareness of the organization and mission
- Increase fundraising and overall support
- Communicate and build community of volunteers, donors, and supporters
Educate and Raise Awareness
When education is a key component of a nonprofit organization’s goals, a solid web and social media plan will help get the message out. Using different media like blog posts, videos, and photos can be a great way to stand out. Organizations focused on kids’ health and wellness like Better Living through Exercise and Nutrition Daily (BLEND) and Be Well Barron County have published their message in a variety of ways. BLEND has even had success using a Pinterest account to share photos of healthy meals and inspiration. Kathy Geislinger, BLEND Program Specialist, is excited about the new opportunities with Pinterest, “Creating a Pinterest profile for BLEND made sense. Topping the list is demographics…women are the main demographic of Pinterest users; likewise, women and moms are BLEND’s target audience…We’re hoping our Pinterest boards capture our vision for a healthier community and motivates people to strive for a healthier lifestyle.” Laura Johnson, Grant Administrator for Be Well Barron County, is using Facebook in conjunction with their website to connect with their community. Laura explains “Our Facebook page helps us direct traffic to our website for events, activities and information. We are able to post all relevant documents on the website, and we send our partners there for ideas and anything else they need.” Technology focused organizations like MVTV Wireless and Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace (MNREM) also use social media to increase awareness, keep supporters informed, and educate the general public. Teresa Kittridge, Executive Director at MNREM sees social media as a way to diversify how they are getting their message out. She points out, “For MNREM, Social Media is a great venue and opportunity to better connect in rural communities, to communicate at another level, and build business in new ways.”
Increase Fundraising & Support
More often than ever, people are going online to make donations, pledges, or inquiries. Many donors in a younger demographic may not donate to an organization until they check out their website first. For Renville-Sibley Fiber (RS Fiber), using email marketing and Facebook to drive supporters to their website to complete an online pledge form was critical in moving their project forward. Using web marketing tools can make it easier to reach a much wider audience to raise money for a cause. For instance, Razoo, which powers GiveMN.org is a tool for raising money online and integrates nicely with Facebook and other social media sites. Minnesota organizations such as the Southwest Initiative Foundation and Project Turnabout use GiveMN for fundraising and collecting online donations. Project Turnabout’s website and blog communications have had a significant impact their social media goals. Project Turnabout’s Development team expressed, “Not only has Project Turnabout’s website and blog communications had an immediate impact and increased online giving from our donors, but having a new electronic request for information form on our website has increased the number of inquiries we receive each week for information on our programming. This equates to more people getting the help that they need for a chemical dependency and/or gambling addiction.”
Connect with Volunteers & Donors
Above all, social media is well, social. Nonprofits rely on people – volunteers, donors, and their community. So there is no doubt that social media can be a very effective way for a nonprofit to connect to their community – recruiting volunteers, gaining feedback, spreading word of mouth, and communication overall. Sarah Hausken, Ministry Coordinator at the Christain Community Outreach Center (CCOC) just recently made their first website live and began promoting via Facebook. Sarah notes, “We rely on donors and volunteers to make this ministry with children, youth and families to operate. Our website and Facebook are great tools to help us reach people who care about children in our community and want to be involved in making a difference.” Laura of Be Well Barron County agrees, “Facebook helps us find and coordinate volunteers. It’s actually pretty perfect for that. It’s also a great way to find out what our coalition thinks and to check the pulse of the community.”
Using a website, blog, and social media are awesome ways for a nonprofit organization to achieve it’s goals, whether they are to educate and build awareness, increase fundraising and support, or connect with volunteers and donors. Use the resources and media you probably already have in your organization: photos, testimonials, and stories of success. Help your supporters to be part of your overall mission and encourage them to get involved and spread the word.
Please share your comments, questions, and successes below. If you work for a nonprofit, what has been your experience with using web marketing and social media? What other nonprofit organizations are doing a great job? Do you think you are more likely to support a nonprofit who is active online?