Social Marketing for NonProfits

I recently had time to kill while Facebook was uploading a series of my photos. So, instead of my usual activity of digging out crumbs from under the keys – they never taste as good as they look anyway – I started thinking about social media as a tool for non-profit organizations.

Why, when and what social media would benefit a non-profit organization? I encourage the use of  to explore this topic, and offer some thoughts and resources to start things rolling…

As a professional fundraiser with a background in marketing I would approach the use of social media for a non-profit organization by first defining the 'why' or purpose in the overall strategic and business plan. Many other people would not. After five years of asking my class of fundraising students, "How would your organization raise $50,000 in two weeks?" I realize that people are far more comfortable sending out an advertisement or being arm's length from solicitation, rather than first asking people face to face. I fear this is the danger of social media.

Social media can be a barrier to retaining and building relationships as much as it can be a constructive tool. Just because someone knows how to use social media doesn't mean it is the right time or tool in the growth cycle and overall strategy of the organization.

If due diligence of efficient and effective fundraising has been conducted, then all the donors and prospects in the 'inner circles' of an organization have been cultivated and solicited before looking at tools such as social media to further cultivate supporters and/or prospective supporters.

A wonderful resource that graphs the ‘what and why’ of social media for non-profit organizations can be found in a slideshare "Building a Social Media Plan" at the Canada Helps website.

First, they tell us, set up Google Alert and Twitter Search to listen to what is already being said about you. I suppose that is necessary with large or potentially controversial organizations, but I would ignore their first step and plunge right into the pool of social media by using it to enhance visual story telling for the organization. They instruct us to use Flikr and YouTube for this purpose.

The next thing I would want to do is highlight our sponsors and partners, to recognize them and inspire others to give. The slideshare instructs us to go to Blogger and Wordpress for this purpose.

Once we have taken care of our current supporters, we can now look outside our organization to gather new supporters by looking for some engagement tools. The social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter are recommended for this purpose.

Finally, if I want to share online resources or find like-minded people, I can go to Digg and Delicious.

As I have seen in other posts to our Ning community, Canada Helps recommends one tool at a time and maximize it according to your purpose. The key is to not just get it up and running, but to maintain it as an active tool in your daily routine.

Those are my thoughts, as a singularly-focused fundraiser. What is your perspective?

Now, back to those crumbs

Interesting link on crowdsourcing:


Kari Frazer has been practicing fundraising, marketing and media relations for over 24 years. She has taught marketing at the college level and facilitated local, provincial and national workshops in fundraising, board development and social media. Kari holds the international Certified Fund Raising Executive designation and earned a Masters of Arts Degree in Leadership and Training with a focus on maximizing ethical fundraising practices among small non?profits. Her current passions are social media, coaching, consulting and showing you the way.