Social Media for Nonprofits: 7 Tips for Success

The use of Social media is a great way for nonprofits to expand their mission. The Global Web Index 2015 report shows the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. What does that mean for nonprofits? It means that social media can become a powerful tool. It provides a way to tell your story, recruit volunteers, increase donations and share your mission.

As I welcome my new client, Legacy International, to Danielle Ricks Productions, I am looking for ways to do just that. Legacy is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide. They train and mentor community leaders, youth, professionals, and governmental and non-governmental administrators, helping them to develop and implement practical, community-based solutions to critical issues.


Like many nonprofits, Legacy manages multiple projects. But it’s often hard to find your voice in the digital space while you are busy doing the good work of your mission. Here’s where social media comes into play to help in an effort to market and increase brand recognition.

There are seven social media strategies that nonprofits should consider when developing their social media plan. I’ll use each of these for Legacy International and you may want to consider these tips when developing your own social media strategy.

1. Set Your goals. Why are you in the social space? Is it to raise money? Maybe you need to recruit more volunteers. It could be that you need to get the word out about your mission to partners, supporters and donors. Each of these has a different social media strategy. Know why you are in the digital space before you get started.


2. Determine Your Target Audience. Will you be speaking primarily to the people you serve, those benefiting from your services, the general public, or to the people who are dedicated to keeping the NPO afloat? Maybe you’ll be speaking to all of these audiences. That’s fine, just know who your audience is so you can develop your online voice.

See3 provides an excellent case study example with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how they tell their stories.


3. Choose Your Platforms. There are a lot of social media sites to choose from. Do you need to be in all of them? Your target audience will dictate where you put your social media energy. Have an audience of teens, you may want to be on Snapchat. Need to reach the parents of teens, you may want to be on Facebook. Need to reach government agencies and news organizations, Twitter may be your best bet. The target audience will dictate the platform.


4. Create Your Content Strategy. This is where the bulk of your social media energy will go. Determining what, when, where and how you will share your content. You’ll want to keep in mind three key things:

  1. Your Voice – Who are you and what do you stand for?
  2. Frequency of posts – How often will you post and why?
  3. Patterns for engagements – What gets shared when?

If you need help developing an effective content marketing plan, you can check out my blog post here.


5. Ready, Set, ENGAGE! Once you have determined your audience, your voice, and your strategy, it’s time to engage your audience. Be prepared to answer questions, field inquiries, share great stories and motivate your audience.4

6. Track and Measure. After ninety days or so, you’ll want to evaluate how you are doing in the digital space. Take a deep dive into the analysis and data. Keep an eye on likes but keep an eagle eye on shares. A like is a click of acceptance. A share means I’m personally invested in the content and I want others invested in it as well. Determine what strategies worked and which ones fell flat? What resonated with your audience and what does that tell you about your story telling, your mission, your followers


7. Almost done! The last step is to start all over again at number one and continue the cycle. Determine who on your team will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of your social media strategy and maintaining the integrity of the brand, voice, and mission. Reevaluate your plan every three months and make adjustments accordingly.

The most important part of all of this social engagement is to be social. Be authentic and have fun. Have social media strategies that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below. Need help to develop your social media strategy, please let me know.

DC Week – Social Media 4 Social Good

Digital Capital Week (DC Week), a 10-day festival focused on technology, innovation and all things digital in the nation’s capital, is well on its way.  There have been parties, receptions, panels, brain storming sessions and wonderful opportunities to network with programmers, developers, geeks, techies and the end of the day… sponsors and clients.  Tomorrow I present a panel with my good friend and colleague, Shannon Mouton, the Social Media and Mobile Marketing Manger, for Laureate Higher Education Group.  Our panel is covering a topic that is near and dear to my heart, using Social Media 4 Social Good. It is my belief that every organization can use the digital space to create change, impact social consciousness and drive home a call-to-action.  Whether your goal is reduce your carbon footprint, fight childhood obesity, or to eradicate poverty, you can use social media as an effective tool to communicate your objectives.

The Social Media 4 Social Good panel is part of DC Week’s Gov & Org 2.0 Day.  The day was organized as a way of focusing on issues and opportunities related to governments and non-profits. Social Media 4 Social Good will specifically concentrate on how nonprofits and for-profits alike can use social media to communicate an organization’s mission, build communities and support outreach efforts. We’ll talk about ways to connect with clients and community members in engaging two-way conversation that will be sure to bring about positive social changes.

If you’re in the nation’s capitol for DC Week please stop on by our Social Media 4 Social Good panel but be sure to register first, space is limited and going fast!  Just click on the link to register today.

Teaching VISTAs how to use Social Media tools

Virtual workshops… real social change.

Working for Campaign Consultation, Inc. as a TA (Technical Assistant) Provider for AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) I produce a monthly online “webshop” to teach VISTAs how to use various Social Media tools in their service or for their organization.  Social Media Monday (SMM) webshops are offered each month to provide members, sponsors, community leaders, alumni, and others with hands-on access to social media applications and an opportunity to learn how to strategically use these tools to create social change.

In addition to lending my technology expertise, I book a variety of guest with on-the-ground experience. Each month, we aim to give VISTAs a specific set of skills to assist them in their role and in their social change efforts.  Want to learn more about our Social Media Monday webshops?  Visit the VISTA Campus and login as a guest to see archives of past webshops and to see what is coming up in the months ahead.

Twitter, Facebook and Google turn red for World Aids Day

Facebook, Twitter and Google are coming together for a good cause and painting the internet red for World Aids Day.  Already I’m seeing my tweets and those of my fellow tweeple showing up in red.  You can show your support on Facebook by changing your profile photo to a red icon or avatar.  I’m not sure I’ll be changing my profile photo but I am all red on Twitter.  I like U.S. Google’s idea of adding a red ribbon to their homepage but I wish they had a more interactive component for us to use in our profiles.  In any event, it’s amazing what the power of social media can do when they get together for social good!  Here’s more on the story.

Some of the web’s most prominent sites turn to campaigning for World Aids Day

The Twitter homepage turned red for World Aids Day

To awareness, the sign-in screen of the Twitter homepage has been changed to red, and the tweets can change their colour. If the hashtags #red or #laceupsavelives are included in tweets they will turn the font red from its usual black.

The US version of has a red Aids ribbon on its homepage and provides a link to various charities connected with fighting the disease.

And Facebook has also encouraged members to join red and change their profile pictures to a red logo, and to share a video about the low cost of the treatments it takes to keep patients with HIV alive.

During 2008 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from Aids. According to figures of UNAIDS, estimated 33.4 million people live today worldwide with the HIV virus.

Facebook asks users to change their profile picture

The World Aids Day is dedicated to raise awareness of the spread of HIV infection. It is a day when people who died of the disease are commemorated. Since 1995 the President of the United States makes an official proclamation.

Agencies Worldwide Use Social Media to Encourage Citizens to Do Their Own Flu Tracking –

Think you are coming down with the flu? Before you grab a glass of OJ or heat up some chicken soup, doctors are hoping you will Tweet or blog your symptoms.  Health agents are using social media to search the Web and track the Internet for disease trends.  There’s even a blog post and Twitter account for @h1n1alliance to keep the public up to date with the H1N1 disease via their Tweets, blog and website.  A recent @hin1alliance Tweet, for instance, indicated, “doctors must assume that all flu cases are the H1N1 virus” and directed us Twitters to their blog for more information.

swine flu h1n1Health Officials are hoping we will get feed updates from sites like the Center for Disease Control’s website or on Twitter via @CDCFlu and @CDCEmergencies.  In addition, they hope we will become proactive and use social media to tell them when we are getting sick.  So, if we actually do happen to get the flu they want to know whom we’ve been in contact with and can track this information via our Tweets, blogs and websites.  It really is a very innovative way to use social media for social good.

According to a Washington Post article, Flu Trackers Encourage Patients to Blog About It, “As health officials gear up for the flu season amid the global H1N1 pandemic, technology and new forms of Internet social interaction are transforming how such outbreaks are monitored. “All these things really change the way that we can manage diseases,” said Alessandro Vespignani, professor of informatics at Indiana University. “It’s not just . . . a passive approach, where we just wait for the disease and then try to do something.”

Agencies Worldwide Use Web to Encourage Citizens to Do Their Own Flu Tracking –

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