Teaming donation management software with social media strategy

Beyond organizing contacts and automating correspondence, management software can help nonprofits track their marketing efforts. When it comes to charity, it's useful to think of marketing as outreach. Spreading awareness, cultivating passion and raising funds are all key components in ensuring a successful mission. Social media is one of the best avenues for building supportive collaboration toward a shared cause. Nonprofit management software can help you build your marketing strategy, by using analytics to highlight how each social media platform extends to different audiences.

Broaden nonprofit outreach through personal social media pages. Employees can use their personal social media pages to broaden your nonprofit's outreach.

Teamwork strengthens strategy
If only one or two staff members oversee the social media activity, you might notice that some audiences tune in more than others. In this case, you're limiting opportunities to connect with more supporters. Instead of placing all Facebook PR on the shoulders of your communications director, you can ask all your employees to share the efforts, said Beth Kanter. It's likely the majority of your staff already uses social media on a daily basis. It doesn't require much time or effort for employees to combine their regular daily activity with cause evangelism. 

Even in the rare instance your communications director has time to spare, it's just not possible for one voice to have the same reach as many. Nonprofit marketing firm ModMark's Meg Rulli suggested communications staff carve out 10 minutes a day for posting to social media. That's not a whole lot of time for one person to devote, so imagine how much greater the impact can be when all hands are on deck to spread awareness of your mission. 

Personal pages strengthen connections
How do personal social media pages differ from your professional organization pages? For starters, the familiarity inherent in personal pages translates to increased trust. Each employee already has an audience of friends, family and followers. It takes more effort to connect with an anonymous crowd than with an established network.

But even if trust is present in personal relationships, it's understandable that many organizations might shy away from asking their staff to take to Twitter. There's a legitimate fear that well-meaning individuals will post things that turn into PR faux pas. While the hesitation is well-founded, it also curbs a lot of potential for good. The first step in overcoming that anxiety is to remember that employees already believe in their charitable work, and want to protect the integrity of the cause. However, don't take for granted that your employees will automatically know how to navigate their professional lives on social media. Take the time to train them how to wield their Pinterest boards in the fight for good.

Training builds trust
Oversight of training should be the responsibility of your communications director. It might seem too large a task for someone with an already-packed schedule, but implementing social media standards will save countless hours in the future. The development of a training program begins with laying out clear policies that uphold your organization's mission, including the definition of appropriate social media content. In addition, you want to craft guideposts for finding content, composing posts and effectively engaging constituents, 

"Employees want to protect the integrity of the cause."

When deciding how to pilot individual social media outreach, communications directors should enlist the help of team members from all departments, including human resources, fundraising and volunteer management. Collaboration leads to a unified set of social media standards, including the core tenets and values of your nonprofit brand. Don't forget to confer with the legal department to make sure all your ducks are in a row before you begin training. 

Put these policies in writing. Instead of creating handouts, try to prepare a slide deck. You won't waste paper, and you'll ensure that your team won't misplace the guidelines when they need a reference. 

Your goal is to empower staff with useful knowledge. Provide them with a simple list of best practices and things to avoid, so they feel confident in acting as the organization's ambassadors. Stress the importance of quality over quantity. Members of your team should post only when they feel they have something to say. Not only will social media content be more meaningful, but you won't risk burning out your valued employees. 

‚ÄčInteractivity bolsters your cause
Rulli suggested another good way to get the ball rolling: Your socially-inclined employees can follow the pages co-workers and volunteers. In doing so, they can re-share powerful messages and develop a stronger internal community. 

Once you've begun your multiplied social media strategy, keep a close eye on its results. You can use media software to identify the types of stories, pictures and tweets that best support your altruistic message. As you collect more data, you can evaluate and revise your policies to uphold the strategies that work. In addition to using metrics, solicit your whole team for feedback about how you can fine-tune your set of best practices as you build out your online reach.