While many of my colleagues in the nonprofit community often share their knowledge and expertise, I’ve found Laura Quinn’s Idealware site especially helpful over the years in providing impartial and comprehensive evaluations of nonprofit software. The just released Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide provides a systematic approach to determine how to best use social media at your organization.
Probably the most important takeaway is the recommendation to first decide what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach. Without taking the time to establish your goals, it’s impossible later to evaluate whether social media is a worthwhile use of your staff’s time. Idealware’s report offers several examples of how social media can help to achieve a nonprofit’s typical objectives: fundraising (although social media should NOT be primarily be used for this purpose), advocacy, recruiting / engaging volunteers, supporting events (both before and during) and outreach.
As I’ve said in the past when discussing multi-channel campaigns, social media works best when integrated with other channels. But messaging content and frequency need to be appropriate for each channel; don’t just post the same information everywhere.
If you take the time to apply the ideas from this wonderful resource, you will be able to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaign. Thanks to Idealware, and Balance Interactive, Trellon and New Signature for their support in helping make this report available to our community at no charge.