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Social Media for Nonprofits in 2013

In 2012, nonprofit organizations of all causes learned to harness the power of social media to raise awareness, fundraise, and create communities. It’s easy to see why. Social networks provide a cheap and effective gateway for nonprofits with tight budgets and limited resources to reach out to new donors and active supporters online. To get your organization started or update your social media strategy for 2013, follow the tips below.

Engage with Your Audience
The great thing about social media for nonprofits rather than traditional product-based campaigns is that it’s often a lot easier to connect with your target audience in a meaningful way. With your values shifted towards causes rather than profits, you have the opportunity to engage with supporters on a personal level in a non-threatening way. To accomplish this:

  • Make your organization and its activities transparent by posting photos, publishing reports and information, and identifying team members
  • Foster authentic two-way communication between your organization and individuals, partnerships, and other community members
  • Involve as many team members as possible in the creation of relevant content on your blog and social media feeds and make sure it’s known who authored what

Tell Your Story Visually
Any communications pro can tell you the power of storytelling but the most powerful stories are now being portrayed visually. Although it was hit with some harsh critiques, there are few people that didn’t see the viral video Kony 2012 that Invisible Children unleashed last year. Despite its faults, the video was extremely well-made, excited a ton of debate and discussion, an insane amount of awareness, and surely, a ton of donations. Even when lacking high production quality, sharing videos and photos is a fantastic way to capture short attention spans and condense your message into a digestible format.

Check out these visually appealing campaigns in the nonprofit world:

Fundraise and Promote Events
The goals for your social media campaign probably include raising awareness, creating a community, and motivating member participation. However, what will ultimately make your campaign worth the effort [budget] is making sure it results in increased donations. This may not happen all at once but you can start fundraising by promoting your event the right way on Facebook:

  • Create an event page including as much information as possible before sending out invites. You should have a blog post ready to publish explaining the event in more depth with a link back to the event page
  • Share the event on your personal Facebook account and encourage employees to do the same. You want your page to be as visible and visited as possible
  • Share visual content and tag team members, volunteers, supporters, and donors. When you update your followers on your fundraising progress, call people out by name to give thanks and share your mission with their friends

Do Something Unexpected
With 98% of nonprofits on Facebook and 74% on Twitter, you have to get creative to set your social media campaign apart from the rest of the pack. The more resourceful and original you are, the more people will stop to take notice and find out what you’re organization is all about.

  • Start by making donating more fun by offering prizes, shout outs, special privileges, or turning it into a contest. Charity: Water has found great success by encouraging supporters to ‘donate’ their birthdays to support the cause.
  • Provide supporters with easily shareable graphics and content. Your brand becomes more recognizable every time a supporter shares this content on their wall, uses it to replace their profile picture or timeline cover, or even ‘pins’ on Pinterest.
  • Find a way to incorporate crowdfunding platforms like KickstarterIndiegogo, and Fundable into your marketing plan to make fundraising projects easier and more interactive.

Do you have a social media strategy prepared for your nonprofit in 2013? Share your ideas in the comments below.