Friday, February 13, 2009

Social Media and Non Profits

I attended a webinar this week on fundraising for non profits through social media -specifically blogs, facebook and twitter. The information was not as useful as I had hoped since the basic message was you should devote time to social media but not too much time but we can't tell you how much time that is. The other advice was to use these tools as a way to build rapport and support from your audience and to engage people.

I was fascinated by the numbers - there are 150 million bloggers and 1 million tweeters. But what was really interesting were the numbers from the mini survey of the attendees - more than half of the non profits on the call were using no social media, many were doing one of the three and only 4% of the call attendees were using all three - blogs, facebook and twitter. The Anita Borg Institute is using all three so we are part of that 4%. Currently we have a twitter account, soon to be adding another for myself to do ABI public relations twitter. It seems that some reporters now refuse to receive any pitches except via twitter. If you can't say it in 140 characters I guess it's not worth saying. But that means it is time to start tweeting PR. We have multiple blogs - one for ABI, one on Fast Company for our CEO and Director of Research and one for GHC bloggers. And for Facebook - we're all over that with pages and event pages and groups, etc.

So what keeps most non profits from investing in social media? That ephemeral thing called ROI - when you are underfunded and your staff is overworked how do you take someone off of helping a hungry child to go and tweet about it? And with the inability to prove the ROI of social media - few facebook fundraisers are truly effective, yet. And the operative room is yet. It takes a good amount of time to build up Facebook pages and blog and twitter followers. And as a member of the ABI team I can tell you it is totally worth it.

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