Can Social Media Really Make a Difference in the Life of a Nonprofit?

It’s been an exciting few months here at OrgSpring and we wanted to share some of the success we’ve had with our nonprofit community.

Our organization, a nonprofit, exists solely to help other nonprofits achieve their mission online. What we’ve tried to do these past two years is to provide a source of tech tips and tutorials for nonprofit executives, so they can learn to integrate the latest technology into their own organizations.

Our goal is to help you become a more efficient organization; to reduce your operating costs, increase online security, grow your support base, start taking online donations, and, ultimately, reduce your reliance on foundation and government funding.To be honest, those are hard goals to measure, but the few dozen nonprofits we’ve worked with have given us pretty good marks.

Some nonprofit results worth sharing…

More than 70% of our nonprofit partners have reached the first page of search results for their target keywords. We’ve helped several political candidates turn social followers into real votes at the polls, some of our sites are helping to reduce domestic violence, and one site even helped catch a criminal.

During the process, we’ve setup a site that gives out free WordPress websites for nonprofits, and we created the OrgSpring YouTube page which, in just a few short months has become the number one referrer of traffic to this site.

We realize that technology, specifically web technology is of great importance. But we also know that sometimes technology can be the hardest thing to learn, especially for those mom and pop nonprofits that have few staff members, not alot of money, and even less time to waste on setting up things like websites and Facebook pages.

And that’s why we’ve taken the time to walk you through those things with our Tech Tips and Tutorials Videos.

 

The Five Videos You Watched Most Often

Our YouTube page has nearly 40 videos on it now, which you’ve watched for more than 70,000 minutes in over 150 countries. Our five most popular videos thus far are:

  1. How to Create a Facebook Page for Your Nonprofit
  2. How to Create a Twitter Page for Your Nonprofit
  3. How to Create a Google + Page for Your Nonprofit
  4. How to Integrate Gmail and Salesforce
  5. The Showbiz Pro Carousel Slider for WordPress Review and Tutorial

 

But How Can Social Media Really Make a Difference in the Life of a Nonprofit?

Often, we’re asked how to integrate social media into the nonprofit work flow, and, to be honest, it’s a tricky question.

The fact is, not every nonprofit needs to be on social media, and anyone who tells you different is blowing smoke. Some organizations just don’t spend too much time online. Other organizations have an entire contingent of offline participants, and some organizations prefer the privacy afforded them by being “off the grid.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.

For those organizations that are making a real effort to grow their support base, social media can be a wonderful place to engage the masses and turn them into advocates for your cause. But the goal is not just to increase your follower count or the number of likes on your Facebook page. That’s not seeing the forest through the trees, so to say.

The goal is ENGAGEMENT – a real and tangible connection with your audience. Not just to sell them something, or to get them to view your website, or even to get them to open their wallets – though that is a nice byproduct of your hard work. Your goal should be to connect on a personal level, to give them what they want and need, whether that’s information, a story that makes them feel happy (or one that brings a tear to their eye), or just a nice video of a cute and fuzzy kitten. In the process id engaging, you’ll start to develop a real relationship with your viewers based on trust, mutual respect, and a common interest – be it in your organization, its mission, or the audience you are both trying to serve.

When you develop an engaged audience, that’s when your organization will start to see real results. Like this organization which received more than $15,000 in donations over a two month period from just 19 videos we helped them create to promote a walk-a-thon.  What could $15,000 do for your organization? Does it help five more people? Ten? One hundred?

 

Time For Social Media Engagement School

Don’t just take our word on what real social media engagement can do for your organization. Take a few moments to read and hear from the real pros – the people I read on a daily basis, and who are on the cutting edge of this fascinating high-tech world.

Jeff Bullas is a social media pro, and he’s used that expertise to increase his Facebook fan base to more than 17,000 fans, and his twitterverse to more than 150,000 followers. His book, Blogging the Smart Way is a treasure of helpful tools and tips to get started writing engaging content for your own site, and then driving traffic to it with smart social media marketing.

If you want to know more about Facebook, check out John Haydon and Jon Loomer. Their blogs are fantastic, and they are both very involved in our community, especially Haydon who gives webinars on Facebook engagement for nonprofits.

If you’re a data nerd, like me, and really like to dig into numbers and metrics, you’ll love the blog of Katie Delahaye Paine. She has been running effective social media campaigns for companies large and small for decades. In my opinion, she’s the smartest social media analyst around. Her book Measure What Matters (Amazon affiliate link) is, in my opinion, the single best book on the subject of measuring and analyzing your social media channels to get real results. The lessons contained within that book became the foundation of the social media plans we use at OrgSpring and with all our nonprofit partners.

If writing is your passion then you’ve got to checkout the blog of my friends Bob Lotich and Jonathan Milligan, Blogging Your Passion. It is a step by step guide on how to start, manage, and grow your very own blog. It’s one of the best resources on the subject, and the creators are two of the nicest guys on the web.

And last, but not least, is my bible – MichaelHyatt.com. His is the top blog on leadership, and for good reason. He was previously the chairman of Thomas Nelson, a christian book publisher, and one of the largest publishers in the world. He writes every day on social media tools, marketing, effective communication, and about life. His blog is a rare gem and one of the few sites I read before I do anything else in the day.

 

Our Promise to You

Our top five videos tell us alot about our viewers, and we hear you loud and clear. So we’re taking this opportunity to promise you more videos like the one’s we’ve given you already, and to be more specific, we’re going to be bringing you videos that not only show you how to get on these social media streams, but also how to make them work for your organization. The goal is to make them bring in viewers and donors, not to be a source of stress or frustration.

We’re also going to take the instruction a step further and show you applications you can use to integrate your social streams into your real office work flow. We’ll show you how to bring Twitter and Facebook directly into your CRM. We’ll show you how to bring email into your CRM, and we’ll show you how to keep track of tasks and events in your social channels too. What you’ll learn is how to unify your online world in just one or two apps, instead of a dozen or more. In this way, we learn how to make the web work for us and our organizations.

Oh, and all the videos we’re talking about are going to be offered at the extremely low price of ABSOLUTELY FREE!

It’s our way of saying thanks for being part of the OrgSpring community.

 

Now Tell Us What You Think!

If you’d like to influence the videos we make for the nonprofit community, leave us a note or comment on this post with some things you’d like to see.

We’ll make a video, or tutorial, and tell you when it’s ready to view.

We’ll also share a quick story about your organization, and let the world know what you’re doing and how to support your cause!

 

 

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Craig Grella

Founder and Executive Director at OrgSpring
Craig is the founder and executive director or OrgSpring, a nonprofit dedicated to helping other nonprofits achieve their missions online. Through tips and tutorials, Craig's goal is show nonprofits how to use technology to become more efficient, grow their list of supporters, and increase online donations.