Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Part 1 of 3 on Social Media for Nonprofits Before You Jump In with Two Feet – Important, Boring, Basic Stuff First

Lately, many of the projects that I have been working on are related to Social Networking for Nonprofits. It is exhilarating to be involved in something new but it can also be overwhelming because there is just so much information available and it seems as though everyday there is more to learn. I have been using LinkedIn, Twitter and Flickr for my own business and evaluating how they can be used by nonprofits – especially small ones.

There are many bloggers in the nonprofit world providing the basic primers for social media and I originally thought I would do that too. Instead I am going to provide some links at the end of this post. Here is what I will cover in three related posts:

1. Before You Jump in with Two Feet in Social Media - Important Boring Basic Stuff First
2. Getting Started Ways to Use Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr
3. How to Use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for Advocacy and Fundraising

Once you are using Social Media you will want to drive traffic to your website and blog. So it is very important that before you jump into Web 2.0 that you have your Web 1.0 in order. Here are a few basics steps:
1. Donate Now capability – if you don’t have it get it now. Network for Good provides a low cost getting started option. If you have Donate Now capability, check the process flow. Make a $5 donation and follow it through the entire process of receipt, recording, entry in database, thank you and make sure it processes just as well as when a check comes in the mail. I’m serious about this. Make sure that without your intervention it gets handled as it should.

2. Remove any pictures on your homepage that are old – even if it is of a luminary. You can bury it deeper on the website but not on the homepage. Have upbeat current pictures and current information as your first impression. Christmas party pictures in June don’t cut it.

3. Update all outdated information, staff contact and Board member info; remove registration forms from past events, program descriptions of programs that have been discontinued, etc.

4. Make a commitment to keep your website updated and spiffy and Link! Link! Link! Check out where you are mentioned and ask if it can be a link to your website. Make sure all press releases have your website in the body and noted at end of release.

5. Guidestar – Update your profile. More important all the time.

I learned the importance of Listening from Beth Kanter, Social Media for Nonprofits guru. Start with your own website by using the analytic tools. Google Analytics is a versatile and free tool that will tell you all sorts of information about your web traffic. How many people, what search words they used, where they linked from, what city/state/country they originated from. This is very helpful for establishing your baseline information that you can use to see what is already effective and the growth impact when you later use Social Media. You’ll be able to see how much traffic comes from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, etc. You will see which Social Media outlets are working for your particular organization.

Read nonprofit blogs – and the comments too. Go to the Nonprofit Blog Exchange and Give and Take at the Chronicle of Philanthropy and find lots of nonprofit blogs to read. Start a Twitter account and follow nonprofit twitterers who constantly post links to great articles. If you follow me just check out who I follow and click to follow them and you’ll be listening to great nonprofit stuff nonstop.
Nonprofit Blog Exchange

Start a Blog
A blog is much more conversational and interesting than a website. My blog gets almost 10 times the traffic as my website. My website has the basic information about my consulting business but my blog says so much more about me. You can get an idea of the full breadth of my expertise, philosophy and recommendations I might make and read articles on current research reports. I provide info and links to other great blogs. Being committed to writing a blog has caused me to be continually learning and keeping up to date. It has allowed me entree into a group of people I have sooooo much respect for – fellow nonprofit bloggers. I am so grateful for friends I have made through blogging on nonprofit topics – they are wonderful people and I hope to meet many of them in person one way or another sometime.

You don’t have to blog every day. If three people from your organization blog once a month that’s a great start. I recommend that the Executive Director blog about issues and policy, the development manager about events, fundraising opportunities, etc. and a Program manager about programs. Tag each article and people can go to those types of articles they are most interested in.

Here are some short articles on Social Media by nonprofit bloggers:
Twitter for Nonprofits and Fundraising by Marc Pitman at The Fundraising Coach

Beth's Blog for everything there is to know about Using Social Media for Nonprofits

Facebook (and Twitter and LinkedIn): What’s the Dif? by Hildy Gottlieb

Wild Apricot Blog by Rebecca Leamon-Great articles for Nonprofits using Social Media

Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking by Beth Kanter - See Other Techsoup articles too

Getting your video on the web by Michael Hoffman at Idealware

Marion Conway May 2007 Newsletter Shall We Blog? Shall We Blog? Shall We Blog?

May 2007 Newsletter Shall We Blog? Shall We Blog? Shall We Blog?

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Good advise for veterans and beginners!