Using Social Media for Non-Profits
When I was a youngster attending a parochial grammar school in the heart of Boston, we had televisions in every classroom. This was a big deal because I am talking about the early sixties, and using television as an educational tool was not all that common. I don’t know why some things remain with me and others do not, but I remember that the nuns in our school (St. Peter’s in Dorchester) always tuned in to a particular show on the local public broadcasting channel. The show featured a folk singer named Tony Saladin.
I remember one song in particular that he performed. It has stayed with me all these years and the wisdom of the lyrics that escaped me at such an early age have become the central tenet of my life today. He sang; “Love is something that if you give it away, give it away, give it away – Love is something that if you give it away, you end up having more.”
Over the years, I have heard a number of interesting variations on this theme. They go something like this; “If you want to hang on to something, you must be willing to let it go,” or “That which goes around, comes around,” or “You reap what you sow.” I consider these to be universal truths – they have no exceptions or caveats attached.
One of the coolest things about social media marketing is that it operates according to the same dynamics Tony Saladin sang about so many years ago. The more things change, the more they certainly stay the same. Non-profit agencies can energize their organizations by adopting social media marketing strategies that embrace the dynamics of these universal truths.
Give it away. If you want to attract generosity, be generous. If you need to bring in volunteers, give them a purpose beyond the task that needs to be performed and make sure that the time they donate is seen as a gift to themselves, rather than a necessary chore that somebody has to do. Seek to empower that you might be empowered. Share it to keep it. Effective social media marketing is tailor-made to enhance the missions, goals and objectives of every non-profit organization that intelligently embraces and utilizes these powerful platforms.
Having served on the boards of many non-profits, I can see that a tremendous amount of time and energy is spent working to “get.” You need to find items for the auction, sponsors, volunteers and people to attend special events. Often, the effort involved is seen as a necessary evil, and only a small amount of the volunteers produce tangible results. This is where a change in the thinking of non- profit agencies can become very powerful. By sharing relevant and important information (content) on a number of different social media platforms, by giving away ideas and inspiration, by taking the time to educate people, not only about your cause, but about other worthwhile missions, you become an unobtrusive and welcome source of positive energy.
Social media marketing provides non-profit agencies with an opportunity to turn traditional thinking upside down. Instead of continuously coming from the standpoint of need, vc having to ask for money, you can now think of fund raising activities as offering people an opportunity to feel good about themselves by supporting an organization that adds value to the lives of many people, either directly or indirectly.
You are providing people a way to keep that which they give to you, to reap that which they willingly sew. You are allowing the people with whom you are connected through social media a wonderful gift – a way to feel better about themselves and share that light with all of their social media connections.