Juggling Animals via The Teacher's Journal
I've been writing in the space and talking a lot outside of it about the need for small nonprofits to pay attention to social media.
The reasons have been discussed at length in many places and some of the larger nonprofits such as the Red Cross are showing the way.
I'll keep on evangelizing social media because the potential for return is very high compared to the investment. But I'm currently concerned about how the economic downturn may be affecting the small nonprofit's ability to reach out through social media.
Almost every small nonprofit I know is drilling extra holes in its belt to accommodate a much thinner budget.
All small nonprofits are used to doing more with less - their staff people believe in the mission and extend themselves above and beyond so often that the improbable becomes SOP. But many of those small, overworked staff have had to lose one or more members, leaving the rest to shoulder the extra burden. This is the time when they most need to be able to realise the benefits of a social media community, but because they are even more short-handed than usual, they may not be able to.
You Gotta Put Work In to See Any Result
It takes effort to set up and nurture, maintain and grow, a social media community. Community means give and take, an exchange of ideas. And six staffers doing the work of 12 just don't have the time or energy for it.
What About Volunteer Help?
Certainly, interns or volunteers could help get the ball rolling, but interns and volunteers leave and if there isn't a strategy in place and a social media policy, and one or two staffers who can commit to participating, then when that intern or volunteer leaves, the community will collapse.
Now, when so many small nonprofits are fighting for their existence, is when they should be reaching out to embrace new methods of communicating with potential donors and volunteers - potential community members. But now is also the worst time for them to find and allocate the needed resources.
What to Do
I've got a couple of ideas that might help, which I'll discuss more fully in future posts. In the meantime, if you've got ideas, put them in the comments. Let's see what we can do together to come up with potential strategies to help the small nonprofit keep all their balls in the air.
Image via Wikipedia