less socially acceptable,” explains Burns.
“There are things that Christians believe
in, and get excited about, that are not acceptable in the mainstream.” Citing the
Apostle Paul’s example in addressing
the men of Athens (Acts 17: 16-34) Burns
says understanding your target audience
will enable you to be wise in addressing
them. “Paul knew what would offend
[the Athenians] and get him nowhere,
and he knew how to bridge off things
in their culture that would allow him to
make some progress.”
PHo To: STrATEGY CuBE InC.
Jonathan Burns: not everybody’s message lends
itself to social media.
Being aware of the people you want
to reach will also allow you to determine
which social tools will best reach them.
Business people, for example, tend to
congregate on LinkedIn, while artists
and more traditionally creative types hang out at devi-antART.
And remember the word “social” in “social media.”
If your idea is to spew a steady stream of fundraising
messages, you won’t be building community, and you
may find your friends and followers start tuning you out.
As American newspaper columnist and author Syd-
ney J. Harris once observed, “The two words ‘informa-
tion’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchange-
ably, but they signify quite different things. Information
is giving out; communication is getting through.”
In other words, it’s not enough to
just build a presence on every social
networking platform in cyberspace.
You need to think about why you’re
there, who you want to speak to, what
it is that you want to get through to
them and what sort of results you’re
hoping for. Developing a strategy up
front that includes some measurable
goals will help your social media ef-
forts stay on target.
What About the Money?
If you’re a non-profit organization,
chances are you’re used to keeping a
close eye on the bottom line. So it’s
important to recognize the fallacy that
social media is free. It’s not. There may
not be a fee associated with opening a Facebook account
or setting up a Twitter profile, but participation – and
engagement with a community – takes time.
“If we look at a small not-for-profit with 10 employees that’s doing a good job with social media, my bet is
they’ve got a person spending at least 20
hours a week on it,” says Burns. “That’s
not an insignificant amount of time.”
It’s a mistake, he says, to default to let-
ting your youngest or most junior staffer
handle all your organization’s social
media needs. “You have to
be authentic and original in
your social messaging, which
often means it’s the voice of
a senior leader, so that every-
thing they share improves
and sharpens the [image of
Given that level of in-
vestment, what about a
There’s no doubt the explosion of social
media has changed marketing, fundraising
and awareness building. People have figured
out social media can be a great place to ask
questions and get advice. But donor fatigue is
a real issue. People are tired of being asked for
money on the phone, at the door, in the mail,
in their inbox, everywhere.
So, is it still realistic to hope social media
can be used for fundraising?
Yes and no, says Heather Mansfield, owner
of DIOSA Communications and author of
Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for
Nonprofits (McGraw-Hill, 2011). In a training
webinar on “How nonprofits can successfully
utilize online fundraising and e-newsletters,”
heather Mansfield wrote Social
Media for Social
Good: A How-to
Guide for Nonprofits.
Authenticity comes before marketing. Focus on telling the story of your non-profit and its cause. don’t be afraid to show some personality, but be gracious. If
people send you a compliment, say thank you. If they send you a complaint,
show you care by listening and responding appropriately. don’t just ignore
it hoping it will go away – or worse – delete it hoping no one will notice.
Build community. It’s not all about you. Focus on being interested as
well as being interesting.
Tweet, Like, Post and Pin unto others as you would have them Tweet,
Like, Post and Pin unto you.
not having a social media strategy. A solid strategy will increase the likelihood your efforts will succeed.
Stretching yourself too thin. It’s not necessary to be on every social
network. decide which ones best suit your communications goals and stick
to those. If you find one’s not working, feel free to try something new, but
know why you are making the switch.
not tracking statistics. Take time out at regular intervals (weekly or
monthly, for example) to record and review the statistics from your social
media sites. A simple Excel spreadsheet can do the trick and will show
progress over time. Ft