Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ can be extremely helpful in your non-profit’s efforts to raise money online. In our class Mastering Online Fundraising, we spend a lot of time focused on using social networks the right way to raise money and build your online profile. Today, let’s take a look at the five keys to making sure that your social networking activity successfully helps generate new gifts for your organization:
#1 – Be Active
You have to maintain an active presence on each site you are targeting, or else you won’t be successful. This means, at the very minimum, that you visit each site at least three times per week and post or tweet or link to a new item. Ideally, you will be on each of the social networks you are targeting once per day, every day, Monday through Friday.
#2 – Be Personal
The best way to connect with people on social networking sites is to be personal, not “corporate.” Have the person who handles the social networks for your non-profit post his or her picture, tell their name, and post in the first person. If you post and interact as an anonymous corporate-like entity, you will find people will engage with you far less online.
#3 – Have a Goal (Don’t Just “Connect for the Sake of Connecting”)
Far too many self-appointed social media “gurus” will tell you that you should be active on social networks just to “have a presence.” “Connect for the sake of connection,” they will tell you. “Listen, learn, be there.”
You’re too busy to be doing work (and it is work, when done right) for the sake of “connecting.” Have a goal for your social networking time. Do you want to raise money? Find new volunteers? Build buzz for your organization? All of these are respectable goals. Go into your social networking work with a goal in the back of your mind and then work towards completing that goal successfully.
#4 – Link to Your Site Often
This is one of the most important lessons you can learn about using social media successfully: link to your own site often. Send out stories and articles from your own website often. Get people to follow you back to your website, sign-up for your e-newsletter, and donate to your organization. One out of every three things you post should be a link back to some compelling content on your own site.
#5 – Become an Authority
One great way to help you connect with new people is to be seen as an authority in your non-profit’s area of expertise. If you run a soup kitchen and notice that there is an ongoing conversation about homelessness, jump in. Point people back to that paper your organization released on the causes of homelessness, and offer to answer any questions people may have.
Be seen as an authority by joining the conversation on the social networks you are targeting, and more people will follow you and connect with you and with your organization.
Photo Credit: YellowFilter
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