Are you afraid of getting pushed in the water?


Are you afraid of this?

My post about social media from a few weeks ago generated some interesting conversations. In one, a colleague was talking about her organization’s social media strategy. Her comments were similar to those I’ve heard from other executive directors of small-sized nonprofits:

“We have a Facebook page, but I only post something once a week or so. We have a board member who says we should be on Twitter and LinkedIn. I don’t even know what Pinterest is. I don’t have time to waste on social media.”

You’ve heard of the digital divide? I think there’s now a growing “social media divide” in the nonprofit sector. I’m hearing from more and more nonprofit executives who can barely keep up with their daily operations and maintain annual giving programs let alone pay attention to the world of marketing on the Internet (a.k.a. social media).

And it’s not for lack of trying. Many of these same executives attend webinars or conference sessions trying to learn more about social media. But even these can be overwhelming. I’m sure their eyes glaze over when they hear how many people and organizations are posting, tweeting, and liking. I was reviewing a social media resource guide for nonprofits and it listed 800 blogs to check out. 800? Give me a break. No wonder executive directors are cautious about it.

Which is unfortunate because I think social media can offer even the smallest organization the opportunity to find and engage people who share their mission.

Of course, on the other side of the room are those organizations that have jumped in with both feet and are tweeting, posting and liking like there’s no tomorrow. Some are doing it well, others, not so well. In either case, I’m not sure anyone has a valid and measureable goal in mind.

I do know that your goal should not be to get 10,000 likes on Facebook or 10,000 followers on Twitter. Who cares how many followers you have? I don’t. Your donors don’t. Your board may think it’s impressive, but really, what do they know?

Your goal should be to engage prospects, donors, and volunteers in the life of the organization. But remember, it’s marketing, not sales. You also need a strategic fundraising plan in place to take advantage of all the goodwill and interest that will come from your social media efforts.

But they (and you?) need a guide: Someone to hold your hand and help you create and implement a plan that is unique to your organization and situation. There are plenty of guides out there. Be careful of anyone claiming to be a social media expert: I’ve found very few that are truly experts at solving problems for small and medium-sized organizations. But you don’t need an expert. You need someone adept at taking you through the planning process and implementing a reasonable and consistent social media campaign that integrates with your existing communication and marketing efforts.

And that’s where I can help. I’ve helped dozens of organizations and projects assess their current situation (usually a feasibility study and/or fund raising audit), build strategic fund raising and communication plans, train staff and board members, cultivate key stakeholders, and assist with implementation.

A former client recently said:

“You provided the most complete consulting audit we’d ever received and that left us with a very clear road map regarding what we should do to anchor a major gifts program and build a Foundation with a strategic future.”

If you’d like some help or just want to talk through your situation, send me a message. You can also visit my website or LinkedIn for more background on my work.


Are you (or an executive director you know) feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start asking questions?