There’s a special place in our hearts for local nonprofits -- those amazing change-makers performing miracles for others on a dime and only a handful of volunteers.
Thankfully, with a savvy social media coordinator on board, smaller nonprofits can stand on a level playing field with larger groups to get the public attention they deserve. If you’re a small nonprofit, here are a few tips to propel you ahead on a crowded landscape.
Beth Kanter at www.bethkanter.org is the nonprofit guru of this generation. She blogs, publishes, posts, tweets vast information especially geared to nonprofits needing assistance with technology. Subscribe to Beth’s emails and stay on top of online information.
You are already networking using social media to get the word out about your group. But how about exploring tools like: wufoo.com (for creating ready-to-use forms); wikispaces.com (to appeal to a wider audience); slideshare.com (to publish visual presentations); commoncraft.com (to get board members on track with super-simple explanatory videos); surveymonkey.com (for conducting easy research); and visually.com (for creating infographs that will increase readership)?
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Helpful and entertaining content is important. I’m talking about compelling and illustrated content that is succinct, yet meaningful, to your target audience. Use tips, ideas, insider’s info, non-copyrighted cartoons that tell the tale. The stuff people really want.
Your website is important, but it need not dazzle. Beyond the standard basic information about your organization (what it is; where it is; how someone gets involved), your organization’s smaller social platforms like Facebook will work well to communicate the latest info people need or want. Today’s best websites are functional, not flashy and rarely fun. They should also serve as a connective hub for all your other social platforms.
Create a unique culture surrounding your organization. It’s OK to get warm and fuzzy on your nonprofit’s social sites in order to create interest and goodwill. For example, suppose you have painted the front door of your group’s headquarters a bright red. And suppose your organization is a pet shelter/adoption center. You could showcase the adoptees in a blog titled: Behind the Red Door.
Remember people are more important than technology. But don’t use this truth as an excuse to eliminate digital promotion and networking in your group’s marketing plan. You can humanize your public outreach by using your imagination and integrating the two. For instance, publish your nonprofit’s charitable impact in the form of person-to-person interviews on YouTube; post pictures of working volunteers on Flicker; recognize a generous donor on your blog, etc.
Paige Henson is a new media consultant for small businesses. She specializes in inbound marketing and content management. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.