Marketing for nonprofits, social media marketing plan

Published 10:51am Monday, May 7, 2012

As the nonprofit Leadership column continues discussing marketing for nonprofits, the next several articles will focus on the social media marketing strategy/plan.
What is social media? As the definition of social media continues to evolve along with all the new and exciting platforms of social media, my favorite definition is as follows; ¨Social media is … a way of using the internet to instantly collaborate, share information or have a conversation about ideas or causes we care about.” This definition is a combination of two definitions found on and Wikipedia.
I think, and hope, we all can agree that social media has changed the way we do a lot of things. For nonprofits it has been a truly remarkable way to fundraise, spread awareness and recruit volunteers. The best thing about social media is the price. While everyone will say that social media is free, I don’t necessarily agree with that statement.  A great social media strategy requires you to stay relevant and be present in the hyper landscape.  In order to accomplish this you must have the man-hours to accommodate such demands. Depending upon the size of the organization this can mean an increase in staff size or volunteer hours to stay relevant in social media. Either avenue will cost the organization some time.  The demands of staying relevant come from the public and the many studies that have been done so far on social media.
To start this article, which will lead into several additional articles about social media, I would like to share with you a study that was conducted in 2011 and published in Fundraising Success Magazine. As a side note and for those of you who have taken some of my courses, Fundraising Success Magazine, in my opinion,  is one of the best free fundraising sources available today. Convio conducted the study, which included some of the key findings from fiscal year 2009 and 2010, which are detailed below.
• Online fundraising is the fastest-growing channel for nonprofits today.
• Online giving is growing the fastest for small nonprofit organizations.
• The median growth rate in online donations was 20 percent.
• Median donation size increased from $83.44 in 2009 to $91.94 in 2010.
• Online legislative advocate counts grew 20 percent.
• Advocacy continues to be the top influencer in online donations.

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