Taking Charge of Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Begins With Board and Staff Buy-Inback

You can’t wait any longer. Your nonprofit has got to enter the social media fray but how? Well, slowly, one step at a time. If you’ve already taken a few steps – set up a Facebook page and opened a Twitter account – you’re on your way. If your nonprofit still considers email and a website technologically advanced, you’ve got some work to do.

The first step? Assess your knowledge base. That means everyone in the organization, from board chair to interns because some will need converting, some will need training, and some will show the way. And all will have ideas about where and how social media can be useful. Listen to them.

Ventureneer’s new, free ebook, Social Media for Your Nonprofit: Take Charge!, has the details but to get you started, here are a few of tips:

  • Show them. Present doubters and hold-outs with examples or demonstrations of how social media have helped other nonprofits like yours.
  • Put social media in their place … which is everywhere, from the executive offices to the service providers, from development to client services. Social media are just that: social. Everyone’s ideas (and fears) should be listened to. Social media cross departmental lines. The stories from service providers may be used in blogs; advocacy and fundraising campaigns may leverage each other.
  • Prepare for change. Because social media cross departmental lines – and hierarchical lines – the organization’s culture will change. Embrace the change! Use it!
  • Social media take time, time to plan, time to use, time to maintain. No one person will be able to keep your Facebook page vibrant while sending out engaging tweets, and writing compelling blogs. It takes a team to come up with the stories, the themes, the voice, and the vision you send out even if one person is doing all the keyboarding.
  • Time is money. Include social media in your staffing and your budget.

Yes, I’m hyping our ebook and I will again next week, with some more excerpts. The ebook will be useful to nonprofit leaders and staff as they ramp up their social media efforts. And I sincerely hope that nonprofits will be doing just that in 2011.

What do you think is the most important step in getting started with social media? What information do you wish you’d had when you first started using social media?