A nonprofit workout: recruiting volunteers and donors on social media

heartbeat While a single nonprofit organization can be as vast and complex as the human brain, the organizational heartbeat is quite clear: volunteers and donors.

A necessary workout

Without the donation of both time and money, a nonprofit would not survive. A human body must perform an exercise in order to get stronger. With the rise of technology and social media, nonprofits are performing a new workout. Many organizations are beginning to recruit volunteers and donors online through various social platforms. The nonprofit must gain volunteers and donors to get stronger. Recruiting through social media is just one exercise nonprofits use to gain donors and volunteers. However, this is not always the most effective workout routine for a nonprofit. There are many challenges when it comes to recruiting volunteers and donors.

Challenge: Defining the sector’s role

It is important to understand the difference between social media practices of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. For profit organizations market a product or service. Nonprofit organizations market a mission or cause. This requires clear and effective communication.

Due to the very fact that nonprofits market a mission rather than a product, online users are less willing to flip through multiple channels and pages to understand the mission on an organization. If a customer of a for-profit organization really desires a product, he or she is more willing to look through multiple website etc. to find the desired product. However, users have less patience when it comes to understand the mission and purpose of a nonprofit.

Solution: clear and effective communication

It is so extremely important for nonprofits to have clear and effective communication in social channels. They have less time to get their message out there in comparison to for profit organizations.

Challenge: The Internet is powerful, yet cluttered

A major challenge is that the Internet is powerful, yet cluttered. Nonprofit organizations have huge potential to expand their impact using the Internet. However, there are so many other organizations out there. Nonprofits must compete with all three sectors for attention on the web. The nonprofit sector is at a loss when it comes to this competition. For-profit organizations hire employees or entire departments to run their social media campaigns. Employees at a nonprofit organization often pick up this duty in addition to their official job description. It takes a lot of time and energy to focus on all of the planning and content that goes into social media campaigns. Nonprofits often just don’t have the time or resources.

Solution: Train your employees in social media

If a nonprofit cannot hire an expert employee, they should at the very least hire an expert to train the employees that already work for the organization.

Challenge: Word of Mouth

The Boulevard Consulting Group at Southern Methodist University is a student run consulting firm for various Dallas nonprofit organizations. A survey on donor attitudes in millennial audiences showed that 84.1% of respondents would most likely be motivated to volunteer or donate to an organization if they heard about it by word of mouth.

Solution: Social is the new word of mouth

Millennial Audiences today consider word of mouth to be posts on social media channels from their friends. For example, if a user sees their friend post a Facebook status about how they had an amazing experience with the North Texas Food Bank, then that user is more likely to donate time or money to the North Texas Food Bank.

There are many more challenges, solutions and best practices. But for now, try to implement these ideas. Positive change is sure to follow!

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About Gracyn Singer

Gracie Singer is a young public relations practitioner particularly interested in beauty, fashion, health and lifestyle. She has worked internationally on some of the most successful pr campaigns in the beauty industry.