Many nonprofits are asking this question these days, “Should we have a Twitter account or a Facebook page?” The answer: It depends.
It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.
I remember about 15 years ago when nonprofits started putting up websites. Everyone thought they just HAD to have a website. They all thought that if they had one, they’d raise lots of money online and might even be able to stop other fundraising activities.
No one had a plan for their website. They just got one together and posted it so they could have an online presence.
And, the money did not flood in.
What we learned was that a website is a tool – a tool for providing information to donors and prospects. You have to know what you’re trying to accomplish with this tool or you won’t be able to measure its success.
So, what about Twitter and Facebook? Should you be there?
There’s a simple way to answer this question: If your donors and best prospects are there, then you should be, too. If not, don’t bother.
You need to be very clear about who your donors and ideal donor prospects are, and you need to know where they hang out online so you can be there with them.
Don’t create a Twitter account just because everyone else has one. And if you do create one, make a commitment to keeping up with it.
Same goes for Facebook. Personally, I love Facebook for getting to know donors and building relationships. You can learn a lot about people just from reading their posts on Facebook.
If you decide to use Twitter or Facebook, follow these guidelines:
- Decide on the outcome you want. You must know what it is you wish to accomplish. If you don’t, you won’t have any idea of whether or not you are successful. Are you there to interact with people? Are you building relationships or trying to raise money? The strategies and actions you need to take will depend on the goal you’re trying to reach.
- Be prepared to post and comment regularly. It doesn’t necessarily have to be daily, but it does need to be regular, like every other day or once a week. Daily may seem like a big commitment, but you can do what you need to do in about 5 minutes a day on social media. If you spend more time than that, you’re playing!
- Be prepared to get feedback. These tools will provide two-way communication with your audiences, so they will have the chance to ask questions and give feedback. You may not like everything you read, so you also need to be ready to handle negative comments. Figuring that out in advance will go a long way to preventing an online meltdown.
Many organizations do a great job with social media and the key to their success is that they are committed to it. They dedicate time to working on it regularly. They have a plan for what and how they will communicate to their online tribes. They share things that are interesting (good content) and they keep the good stuff coming (consistency).
And, yes, they do raise a lot of money because of those efforts. But only after they build those great relationships and ask for the donation.
So, if that is what you are trying to accomplish, AND your donors are active on social media, then go ahead and tweet away.
img via west.m