September 14, 2015
Nonprofit visibility on social media is a must in 2015. These days it would be considered “foolish” if your organization was not actively engaging on any of the major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Surprisingly, many members of a nonprofit board of directors are not involved in social media development of their organizations. One role of the Board of Directors and its members essentially includes being a vocal ambassador for their nonprofit. The most expedient and cost effective way to engage a board member more thoroughly is by the use of the social media spaces. Since much of an organizations’ strategic plan for fundraising is online, by integrating board of directors in social media their specific effort is more congruent to the plan and highly effective.
Here are 5 other reasons that should help encourage your board to engage in social media.
In some cases, nonprofits survive off of the connections and partnerships they form within their community. With just one tweet, board members are able to connect with potential donors, but those people the organization serves. Rarely are board members visible(unless they are a part of a “working board” that regularly works in the field at events) outside of their biography on a website. Having board members actively engaged on social media channels validates to the community and other donors a visible commitment to the organization’s mission.
Also, board members are the noticeable ambassadors for nonprofits and their causes. Social media not only magnifies an organization’s visibility locally, but very likely, GLOBALLY. Social media’s newest kid on the block, Periscope allows access to its users’ mobile devices to live stream their surrounding in real time. Think of the impact it would have if a board members made a periscope about their visit to a local community event on behalf of their nonprofit? Millions of social media followers could be instantly aware of the event and the effort the organization made toward their mission.
Millions of people daily scour the internet for job and volunteer opportunities via social networking sites like LinkedIn. Having board members active and engaged only enhances this process as it strengths the connections and relationships organizations may have with key stakeholders, funders, potential volunteers and future board members. When recruiting personnel (especially board members), it’s very important an individual is compatible to a nonprofit’s mission. LinkedIn’s “Board Connect” (http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/09/17/board-connect/) is a great resource for nonprofits to explore and find volunteers, staff or a suitable board member, based on their posted LinkedIn profile.
Fundraising for nonprofits has become easier and easier as the social media space continues to grow. Innovations such as Text to Donate has made the act of charitable giving as simple as a click on the “send” button. In addition to text messaging, nonprofits have seen fundraising success through the use of creative and engaging social media campaigns. The best and most recent example of this would be the ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge” that swept the country and went viral on social media in the summer of 2014. ALS was able to raise over 100 million dollars for their cause through the ALS campaign while increasing awareness for a disease that, before the Ice Bucket Challenge, many Americans knew very little about (a survey conducted by consumer healthcare insights organization Treato found that 29% of people who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge said they had never heard of or were not very familiar with ALS before participating.)
A solid social media blueprint should be included in every nonprofits strategic plan. It’s easy to forget to include this in an organizations strategy, however it may now be one of the most important pieces to the tactical operations puzzle. When your Board members are active on social media, it makes it a lot easier to integrate a social media plan into a clear, consistent message. Perhaps, by integrating a social media strategist as a board member would strengthen a nonprofit’s reliable and growing communication to their best audiences?
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