As the Lovely Lenore said in Forrest Gump, “Don’t ya just love New Year’s? You get to start all over!” (Or was it the Cunning Carla who delivered that line? I digress…) For many of us, the notion of starting over is a welcome bit of good news at the onset of a new year. And if your presence on social media is less than what you’d prefer for your organization, why not use January 1st as the day when you turn the tide? The following are some resolutions you might consider making to help your organization get involved online and start connecting with all those potential donors who are waiting to support your mission…
Develop an institution-wide social media strategy: If your organization doesn’t already have a strategy to guide your internal and/or external social media activity, this should be your top communications priority in the new year. Whether it’s the way you approach annual giving, how you work with volunteers, how you steward major gift donors, or any part of the fundraising process, we all know that having a strategic plan increases an organization’s effectiveness. Social media is no different.
What are the goals your organization wants to accomplish via social media? What resources do you need to achieve those goals? What are the tactics you’ll use and how will everyone in your organization know how to support those tactics on a daily basis? How will you measure the success of your strategy on New Year’s 2013? Develop a strategy that answers those questions and put it into play. You will likely see increased awareness and improved perception of your mission, not to mention a bump in overall giving. Don’t believe me? Have a look at this study that shows using social media improves fundraising by as much as 40 percent.
Dedicate daily staff time to connecting with your constituents: Relationships take a commitment of time. That’s true of face-to-face interactions and interactions online. Blasting a news item out to your constituents a couple of times a day does not constitute a relationship. Ongoing conversations combined with providing each other valuable information and entertainment does. To achieve that, you need people online – tweeting, Facebooking, LinkedIning, blogging, YouTubing and more, several hours a day, at least a few times per week.
Start a blog: This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a post every day or week. Do you have someone on staff who loves to write? Maybe they maintain their own personal blog? Give them incentive to maintain a blog for your organization by providing them with a new laptop or video camera. For a small investment, you can turn a current staff member, faculty member, doctor, researcher, volunteer, student, etc. into a blogging superstar who will help bring a new base of supporters in to your organization.
For more news and information about how social media can impact philanthropy, visit BWF.com.