NGO+nonprofits+SocialMediaThere really is a case for “Social Media = More White Noise.” But that is as errant a perspective as “Doing Social Media = More $$ for Nonprofits.”

Research does show that social media engagement translates into greater success for many nonprofit organizations. This was shown by Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and craigconnects.org, in 2011 profiled the highest grossing nonprofits and their use of social media.(Remember some things will have changed in the last couple of years… especially in the online realms.) But the indicators are solid.

But  the small, cash-strapped nonprofits and NGOs have to be careful not to get stars in their eyes. Nevertheless, you should definitely add it to your strategic plan. And you can get started making a difference with as little as 30 minutes a day, four days a week. And make headway.

Social media can be useful (and doable) when you have a strategy, a plan and you work it. If you still wonder if you should spend your time campaigning in social networks, check out this smart little social media ROI investment calculator.

Confident that your NGO can benefit? Here are a few tips and reminders as you get ready to develop  your social media strategy.

  • First, think about the kind of social media that is most suitable for your organization: its character, its work and your staff / volunteer resources. Choose thoughtfully. Don’t just set up a Twitter account because you can. Think about wether that will work for a significant number of your stakeholders. And don’t forget to ask the staff and volunteers who will be doing this what they think too!
  • Be clear. Create SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) for your social efforts.
  • If your organization is new to this and you don’t have a clear social media policy to guide your staff and/or volunteers use one like that of the Mayo Clinic as a guide for your own policy.
  • Need to ask the advise of a social media guru who is focused on nonprofits? Start with Beth Kanter’s blog. She can also give some tips about making your own profile professional AND engaging.
  • Remember that social media is meant to be a conversation with your fans, colleagues and followers. Don’t forget to spend time answering questions, responding to comments.
  • Always remember that this is one of the ways that you continue to add value to your community.