Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Time For Social Media
NonProfit Tech for Good has excerpted part of their Mobile for Good book on their site to talk about what kind of time social media requires for successful fundraising (read the piece here). Naturally, the first thing that jumped out at me is that there was no discussion of what a small nonprofit should do, just medium and large nonprofits. The second thing I noticed is that they recommend a part-time social media manager for medium NGOs and a full-time manager for large ones.
Where Does This Leave the Tiny NGO?
Well, that's in the fine print, so to speak. According to the article, small nonprofit attempts to use social media for fundraising are often shared by the staff and tend to be overshadowed by traditional fundraising methods (though not called out, I assume they mean direct mail and maybe email campaigns or even events).
NP Tech For Good probably has the data to back up these statements, so I won't challenge them here. But does that mean your very small NGO should put no effort into using social media for fundraising? I don't think so, since it's a tool that's readily available and the investment is often time.
Time is Expensive
Business likes to say that "time is money" but I like to think that "time is effort." Clearly, you can't put in the kind of commitment that a medium or large NGO can, especially ones with dedicated social media managers. But you can look at the recommendations and translate them into something that may be do-able for you.
Also apparent is that you can't spread your effort around a lot of sites, so you'll have to carefully evaluate them and work on only those sites that seem to provide the greatest possible return for the effort. Only you can make this call - you have to get out there and find your community, which is also an investment of effort. But you can't just throw your posts out willy-nilly, hoping that something will stick. Social media doesn't work that way. It is always a give-and-take, always a relationship building exercise in which trust and interaction are the goals.
The one place I recommend putting in the full amount of time is in Blogging. NP Tech For Good's recommendation: "Blogging (6 hours): To write an average of two short posts weekly which includes the time necessary to find, edit, and insert photos and integrate video." Don't short yourself on this. Make the time to write those two short posts a week, even if they're very short. They give you something to refer to in your other SM posts, they give you more room to explore a thought or an action, they give you more opportunity to get commentary.
And note another important point in the article - just because social media accounts are often free to set-up and use, does not mean they are not worthwhile investments that should be taken seriously. Acknowledge the effort, whether it's yours or another staffer's.
Hashtagcharity helps IT (tech) people find nonprofits they would like to donate time to. We all know budgets can be hell on technology. Getting an updated database or better working network is usually a wish-list item. But hashtagcharity may be able to help with some of those goals. Check them out and maybe recommend them to people you know in the tech world who are looking to volunteer their skills.