1. Social media is a great way to fundraise. While I agree it can be a great tool to reach potential donors and I have even seen a successful twitter fundraising campaign or two, what is typically more common is Nonprofits using social media as a stewardship tool to connect donors and constituents to the mission of an organization and help them to feel connected. Donations may in fact come out of that as a byproduct of good stewardship, but it is usually a secondary outcome
2. Social media will get people to do something for us or drive more traffic to our website. Nope, wrong again. I personally think social media can be a great way to involve donors and constituents, but there needs to be an actual person following up and having actual authentic conversations with their followers, friends, etc. No one wants to follow/like a business that only talks about themselves. Additionally, speaking from my own experience, I don’t often “like” an organization, then go visit their website. After the “like” I usually move on to the next thing.
3. A nonprofit’s ‘follower’ numbers directly translates in to memberships, dollars in the door or increased event attendance. I can’t tell you how many organizations I follow/like that I am truly interested in, but take no other action than to click the follow/like button. However, I have noticed that not many of the organizations I’ve “liked” have contacted me to follow-up in other ways, i.e. direct mail, email, even event invites on facebook. Personally, I think that is a missed opportunity.
4. Social media will fix all the problems, and is a great strategy for nonprofits. Remember social media is a tool itself, not the strategy. The best social media plans I’ve seen or worked on are the ones that the organization has, or is creating a complete communications/fundraising strategy, and the social media component is a well thought out piece of that, not the entire plan.
5. Finally, my favorite myth, social media is a fad, and we can just ignore it until it goes away. I agree that Facebook might not be the wave of the future, but something will replace it online, and potential constituents of your organization are out there looking for ways to connect, many on a social platform of some sort. It behooves a nonprofit to look in to the many varied options and make an informed decision. I would never recommend starting something that is not useful to the organization’s mission; however, I believe that getting out there is important, even if your organization makes mistakes along the way.
Copyright 2012 The Good Counsel, division of Toscano Advisors, LLC. May be duplicated with citation.