Non-Profits Need Social Media, Too

We often hear the same response when discussing social media with non-profits. They want to be visible, they want to connect and engage, and they want to drive awareness through these channels, but they just don’t have the funds, time, or expertise to do it.

Yet social media, like other marketing initiatives, is so essential to fueling the vehicles that allow these non-profits to drive change in our society. If people don’t know about the charity, how will it incent donations? And if it can’t raise additional funding, how will it provide essential community services?

FundraiserGiving Non-Profits Permission to Spend

“Too many non-profits are rewarded for how little they spend – not for what they get done,” Social Entrepreneur and AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallota says in his Ted Talk titled The way we think about charity is dead wrong. He believes this economic starvation of our non-profits is crippling our society from tackling pronounced social issues.

In this talk (shared below), Pallota is asking his audience to change they way they think about charities. “The next time you’re looking at a charity, don’t ask about the rate of their overhead. Ask about the scale of their dreams,” he says. Instead of equating frugality with morality, we need to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses).

Marketing for Non-Profits

“People are yearning to measure the full distance of their potential on behalf of the causes that they care about deeply,” says Pallota. “But they have to be asked.”

He explains how the AIDS Ride raised 581 million dollars by “buying full page ads in the New York Times, in the Boston Globe, in prime-time radio and TV advertising,” not by “putting up fliers in the Laundromat.”

Of course, we’re not saying all non-profits can afford to buy those advertisement slots – and we’re not suggesting they should find the funds to do so. But we believe social media is a huge opportunity to get the best of both worlds here – charities can appeal to a vast audience while working within a cost that is closer to fitting within their budget constraints. As Pallota makes clear, we just need to give them permission to spend.

How Social Media Can Help

These nonprofit organizations we speak of are built from the grassroots. They are driven by a small group of passionate and ambitious people. But in order to thrive, non-profits need to grow. We believe social can be the watering can from which these charities drink, and therefore flourish. Social media allows charities to:

  • Become visible. Use these platforms as an outlet to show the world what your organization is all about. Who are the people behind the passion? Why do they care?
  • Connect. Social media is all about engaging with others who share your interests. These people could turn into volunteers, donors, or promoters. But you have to build relationships with them first.
  • Spread awareness. People can’t contribute to the cause if they don’t know what it is. Use social media to let the world know what you believe in, and why they should believe in it too.

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