What Social Media Platform Gives My Non-Profit The Most Bang For My Buck?

In consulting with several non-profit clients, ‘What Social Platform Gives My Non-Profit The Best Bang For My Buck?’ is usually the second question that comes up. The first question asked often being, ‘Can we afford you?’ How would you answer these two questions? I like to answer the first question with another question, ‘Can you afford NOT to hire a professional?’ However, the answer to the second question is much more complex as there is no one magic answer.

So, what platform should your non-profit be active on?

That depends on a lot of factors. Consider the following points:

  • What Type of Non-Profit You Are
  • Your Resources (Budget, Staff/Volunteers)
  • Your Social Media Goals
  • Your Immediate Needs & Plans
  • Your Long-Range Needs & Plans
  • Your Physical Location
  • Your Current Audience & Your Ideal Audience

Now, I am sure this doesn’t really answer your question either, so let me offer some ideas on how the different (major) platforms can help your non-profit. Each social media platform has different strengths and different functions and is designed to work for a particular audience.

Social Media Platform for Non-Profit

Purpose and Strength of Each Social Media Platform

Facebook For Non-Profits

Facebook is by far the largest social network. Often, when people start their online journey, they start with Facebook; it’s easy to use, easy to learn and easy to access. Whether you are trying to reach 20-somethings, 40-somethings or 60-somethings, Facebook is a good bet! Leverage the power of Facebook to benefit your non-profit by:

  • Creating & Running Online Events
  • Highlighting & Supporting Offline Events
  • Fundraising Campaigns
  • Volunteer Recruitment
  • Gaining Momentum for Your Cause
  • Connecting with Potential Sponsors
  • Promoting of Current Sponsors
  • Branding
  • Increasing Local Involvement
  • Collecting Reviews
  • Online Advertising
  • Increasing Web Traffic
  • Collaborative Projects
  • Contests & Give-Aways
  • Sales of Tickets and Promotional Items

Twitter For Non-Profits

Twitter is another platform non-profits can make a mark. Twitter is fast and furious and if your NPO has exciting news to share and wants to reach media, Twitter is a great platform to do that on. Don’t forget that if you are a blogging non-profit, Twitter can drive a lot of blog traffic for you as well.  Twitter can benefit your NPO by:

  • Increasing Blog Traffic
  • Event Promoting
  • Advertising
  • Connecting with Media
  • Finding Sponsorships
  • Publicizing Press Releases
  • Gaining Local Support
  • Branding
  • Spread Your NPO Message
  • Content Curation
  • Finding Partnerships
  • Product Launch
  • Contests & Sweepstakes

Pinterest For Non-Profits

Pinterest is a visual platform and there are some great examples of non-profits using Pinterest to be found. However, as this is a newer social platform, there are still so many NPO who have not discovered Pinterest.  Wondering if it’s a good fit for your NPO? Consider Pinterest for:

  • Building Brand Awareness
  • Spreading your NPO Message
  • Audience Building
  • Product Sales
  • Increasing Blog Traffic
  • Contests
  • Telling Your Brand Story
  • Community Building
  • Fundraising
  • Product Launch
  • Sharing your Videos
  • Reaching Females

Instagram For Non-Profits

Much like Pinterest, Instagram is a purely visual platform. The power of Instagram lies in the community engagement and the ‘now’ or ‘instant’ factor. People love knowing what you are doing now and getting a ‘behind the scenes’ peek. A large segment of Instagram users is of the Millennium generation, so if your target audience includes them, do not pass over Instagram as a potential platform. Use Instagram for these instances:

  • Building Brand Awareness
  • Telling Your Brand Story
  • Behind the Scene Peeks
  • Event Promotion
  • Sharing Your NPO Message
  • Connecting With Supporters
  • Highlighting Donors and Sponsors
  • Cross Promotion
  • Showcasing Direct & Immediate Impact
  • Crowdsourcing of Images from your Supporters
  • Highlighting Volunteers and their Work
  • Reaching Teens and Young Adults
  • Contests

LinkedIn For Non-Profits

LinkedIn is a great place for online networking, so how would this benefit your non-profit? Having a LinkedIn Page for your NPO and having your employees and/or director on LinkedIn helps you spread your message. Here is what LinkedIn can do for your NPO:

  • Board Member Networking
  • Corporate Sponsorship Campaigns
  • Gathering and Sharing Industry News
  • Showcasing Programs
  • Volunteer Recruitment
  • Community Involvement

G+ For Non-Profits

Last but not least I want to touch on Google Plus as a great platform to consider for your NPO. Besides the obvious SEO benefits to your non-profit for being on G+, there are other reasons as well. Consider

  • Increasing Online Authority
  • Demonstrating Expertise
  • Local Search
  • Location Marketing
  • Google Reviews
  • Hangouts for Internal Meetings and Organization
  • Hangouts On Air for Public Awareness
  • Training & Learning
  • Community Involvement
  • Content Curation
  • SEO Benfits

One More Piece of Advice

The most important thing to remember is that you should pick a few platforms to get started with and learn as much as you can on how to use these platforms for your NPO. Once you get comfortable and you are engaging, plan to add platforms as you grow your community. It’s perfectly OK to not be on all of these platforms right from the start, especially if ‘being’ on all the platforms would only mean creating a profile, without taking time to engage and build a community.

Remember, social media is a marathon, not a sprint.

Dorien Morin-van Dam
Dorien is the face behind the orange glasses and is founder of More In Media, a social media consultancy. She consults with clients in the non-profit sector, retail and service industries, as well as PR and community associations. Besides social media consulting and management, she enjoys teaching, speaking, blogging, networking and running marathons. Proud to be Dutch by birth and American by choice, Dorien makes her home in Myrtle Beach, SC with her husband, 4 kids and 3 labradors.
Dorien Morin-van Dam

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