NonProfits are Leaving Money on The Table if they Do Not Embrace Social Media

The non-profit community is constantly working hard to do the greatest good for people all over the world. Many of us have worked and are currently volunteering with non-profits in our spare time. Unfortunately, the large corporations are not donating to non-profits like they used to. Our non-profits are having to get creative in their fundraising efforts, the grants they apply for, and how they communicate to their key stakeholders. Non-profits that continue to stray away from social media are leaving money on the table.

There are many reasons why social media does not rise to the top in many non-profit organizations. Some include the fact that leadership and those that are decision makers still do not see the value in social media, there is not an immediate return on the investment of time that it takes to manage social media channels, and it is not what has been done before.

But, instead of harping on why it is not happening. We need to focus on why it should happen and how it can happen (even in the small organizations with no budget).

Executive teams tend to like data. So, here are a few data points:

  1. It was reported that approximately 8 million different viewers visited CDC’s site in a single day following the upload of their first video on YouTube on April 30, 2009.
  2. Research based on consumer surveys has shown that individuals are more likely to seek services from and recommend to others an organization that they recognize as having a strong web presence (McCaughey, Baumgardner, Gaudes, LaRochelle, Wu & Raichura, (2014); Govette, 2014). Social media drives people to your website and keeps your brand top of mind.
  3. Utilizing social media applications for fund development allows organizations to capitalize on social network effect, social proof, peer pressure, and impulse donations (Saxton, 2013; Axelrad, 2015).

Beyond the data, there is a lot more to the story of why social media is right for nonprofits. Basic communication strategy will guide you in saying that you need to communicate with your patrons where they are at. This may be Facebook, Instagram, or even SnapChat depending on the audience that you would like to reach. The beautiful thing about social media is that one can create a strategy that reaches each of these audiences and measure that against the goals that you have for growth. For example, an organization that may help senior citizens has a variety of audiences that it must reach to have significant growth outside of their current circle. This organization needs to reach funders, caregivers, those in the health care profession that may recommend them, and the family of that senior. Understanding your target audience is going to help when looking at boosting a social media strategy.

Social media is all about building relationships with patrons. These are the individuals that will become brand ambassadors, they may remain or become funders, they may even have an influential role on politicians that affect the nature of work done by an organization. Showing the world what is done within a nonprofit via social media helps the nonprofit to tell its’ own story. It allows the nonprofit to showcase what is being done with monies received. When people know that an organization is doing right by their donations, they tend to want to give more.

Many organizations will conduct an end of the year giving campaign. This is the time when nonprofits encourage people during the holidays to give to their organization. The problem is that all the nonprofits are doing this at the same time. The key is to share your organization’s brand story throughout the year so that people feel they know their donation will go into an organization that is properly lifting up the individuals that they have promised to serve. The traditional means of communicating with your audience do not have to completely disappear. Social media is just an additional tool in that tool box to reach your audience.

More data:

  1. Facebook – 1.94 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2017
  2. Instagram now has over 700 million users, and 250 million users use Instagram Stories every day. In total, Instagram’s added more than 200 million users to its platform in under a year, with 100 million of the newcomers signing on between December and the end of April.
  3. Twitter – 328 million monthly active users as of last count, making Twitter the ninth largest social network in the world.
  4. Snapchat – 158 million people are using Snapchat every day, and on average, open the app 18 times a day, according to Snap Inc.’s initial public offering prospectus.

We always advise nonprofit executives to look at the other organizations that they want to aspire to as it relates to fundraising. Look at their social media efforts vs their traditional communication efforts. The first step in getting an executive team to embrace social media is to show them the data. The numbers do not lie. The audience is there and they are waiting to hear your story.

Many times, it is the youngest/newest member of a nonprofit organization that is attempting to shift the tide when it comes to a nonprofit embracing social media fully. This is difficult because now a senior member of an organization must trust a junior member of the organization that has not been around so long. Our hope is that these two passionate individuals can at least meet in the middle. The experience of the executive team is invaluable, but blending that with the new communication tools that our junior team members may know more about can only help to take our nonprofit organizations to new heights.

Stay tuned to more in this series from Selsi Enterprises. We are taking a close look at how we can get more nonprofits to embrace and utilize social media in a greater capacity to grow their organizations.



Appleby, Morgan. Nonprofit Organizations and the Utilization of Social Media: Maximizing and Measuring Return of Investment (2016)

The Front Line

Social Media Strategy Audit

Many times we see that companies get involved in the world of social media without any real direction.  A business owner feels good being able to say that their company has a presence on all social media platforms. The problem is if you do not have a strategy behind what you are doing; it can simply result in a lot of wasted time with no real gain in the business bottom line. We see companies every day that post in social media, but tend to feel that social media is not providing them with any results.  It is not a weakness of social media as much as it is a weakness in the strategy behind the post.

Our advice, step back and either do your own social media audit or hire a consultant that can give you great data about your social media campaign.  We would say leave it to the experts (shameless plug coming). Let a company like Selsi Enterprises dissect your current plan and give you some sound techniques to move forward with your efforts on social media.

A good social media strategy audit takes about 2 months to conduct. This audit typically compares what you are doing in the social media sphere to what your competitors are doing. This audit should also take a look at what you are doing versus where your customers are and what they may prefer in the way of social communication. Finally, you should end up with recommendations that can be measured over time.

Once small business owners conduct a social media audit, it is amazing how they see the results start to stack up versus the time before they had a specific strategy. What keeps most business owners from hiring a consultant to perform this audit is a concern surrounding the cost. A business owner should look at this as an investment in business growth.  This is a short term expense that can lead to a long term gain.  As I have polled consultants in 2012 on what they charge for their social media strategy audits, I have seen a range in terms of prices, services, and guarantees.  For a quality audit, the price range is 5K to 8K. Typically a consultant will allow a business owner to break this expense up into multiple payments over the 2 month timeframe. It really depends on the consultant!

Turn Up the Charm

Social media today is all about how well you are charming your audience.  A company, be it large or small, can not proceed with the same persona that it had even 5 years ago.  Customers are now wanting to engage in conversation with businesses that they enjoy patronizing.

Unfortunately, many of the larger corporations are still a little slow to come to the social media playground.  Some of their reasoning may be justified because it is easy to say the wrong thing and end up in a media fiasco that could have been avoided.  For the small business owner, it may simply be a time issue.  How do you successfully run a business and have time to properly manage your social media presence?  Your social media presence should personify your brand and that may require some strategic planning to make it happen, but it can be done.

You must have a well thought out plan before diving in to social media.  Determine what it is you are hoping to gain from your efforts. Decide on the mediums that you would like to cover and then dive in!!  If you decide to join Twitter, take a look at some of the twitter chats that happen daily.  A simple search on your topic of choice will yield a great list of chats and individuals for you to follow and engage.  If you decide on a Facebook page, create your page and then determine about 2 weeks worth of updates that you would like to post.  It is easy to schedule these posts using a site such as Hootsuite. The Facebook page is an excellent way to offer specials for anyone that may ‘Like’ your page.  I know, we are making it sound very simple, but it really is a ‘learn by doing’ activity.’  Once you have created your first Facebook page Twitter page, or your LinkeIn profile, take time to explore what others are doing.  Learn from others that are in your same industry.  Think about what type of strategy they are using (especially if it is working for them).  Do not be afraid to mimic what is working!

Once you are onboard, it is all about your social media charm.  Figure out ways that you can help people fill a need.  Then, interact and engage.  Or, as Guy Kawasaki would say….Enchant!

Nonprofits can Benefit Greatly from Social Media

Social media is an inexpensive way that nonprofits can grow in reaching their mission.  As a strong supporter of many local nonprofits, we at Selsi Enterprises realize how limited resources can be when trying to balance all that needs to be done to keep the nonprofit afloat. Allow us to make a few suggestions as to why a nonprofit that uses social media can not lose:

1. Keep your volunteer engaged –  Social media is a way to show the success of those that volunteer with your organization.  It is also a great way to schedule and plan activities with those on your volunteer roster. This is also one of the greatest ways to get feedback from those that volunteer with your organization.

2. Tell your story – Platforms like YouTube will quickly allow you to showcase the efforts of your organization.  Many in your local community will not realize of your hard work unless you let them know.  Telling your story is the best way to keep donations coming in all year long.

3. Fundraising campaigns – What better way to allow people to donate to your organization than in an online format.  Your audience can watch the total rise, encourage others to donate, and share their reason for donating.  Social media should one tool that you use in your fundraising campaign.

Building a successful social media campaign is not just watching your ‘likes’ on Facebook rise, but engaging your audience by using a variety of tools.  Social media is one, inexpensive tool that should not be ignored by nonprofits.