Nonprofits and Social Media: Five Steps to Getting Started

Written by: Melissa Noyes, Cofounder/Web Coordinator

We’ve been talking with lots of local nonprofits about engaging young professionals (YP’s) more fully in their organizations–as volunteers, donors, board members, and as employees.  One of the strategies we recommend is to find out where YP’s are and be present.  Most commonly, we’re referring to social media, the web, and the blogosphere. 

Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly, for those of you in the nonprofit world), nonprofits have been hesitant to jump on to this trend.  While I believe as a whole they are doing much better, but it’s still a struggle for nonprofits to fully engage in the world of social media. 

Here are some helpful tips to get started:

1. Choose 1 or 2 forms of social media and do them well.  No one expects you to be on every social media site ever invented.  My recommendation: Facebook and Twitter.  (And create yourself a personal profile in LinkedIn)

2. Once on these sites, learn how to use them effectively.  There are a ton of blogs and tutorials out there.  Just Google it. 

3. Be present.  Share. Start conversation.  YP’s want to know what your organization is doing and what you find important.  Use your status updates to share your latest happenings, your latest blog posting, relevant news articles, and the goings-on of other nonprofits in the community. Ask questions; find out how YP’s feel about current events and issues.  Don’t be afraid of YouTube…make some creative vids about your organization and post them.

4. Start a blog (or beef up your current blog).  If you’re a large nonprofit, ask different employees to write articles every week so that your readers start to understand the full scope of your organization.  Share your blog postings on your website and social media sites.

5. Boost your web presence.  Do you know what SEO is?  It’s okay, I didn’t either until last week.  It stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s super important.  The basic gist–boosting your ranking on Google.  It’s basically street cred on the internet.  Young professionals are going to Google you before they engage in your organization in any other way, so you want to be there.  (PS–A good blog can increase your SEO.)   Once they find your site, make sure it’s easy to use.  Use the two-click rule (content shouldn’t take more than 2 clicks to access).  YP’s have a 8 second attention span on any given page (seriously), so if  they don’t find what they need right away, they’re gone.

A really good resource for these issues is the book “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs” by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.  You can find it on Amazon for 12 bucks.

Our next training series (coming in March) will be all about nonprofits and social media, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for more info.
I’ll be diving deeper into many of these issues over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more info.  If you have a specific topic that you’d like more info on, please leave it in the comments section.


About catalystxchange

Catalyst X-Change, Inc. is a 501c3 serving the greater Indianapolis area. Catalyst was founded by two Millennials (Kristin Clements-Effner and Melissa Noyes) with a passion and a vision for world change. We believe that significant and positive change can happen when individuals come together and match their passions with tangible actions. Our mission is to advance community through meaningful action.
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