Dear not-for-profits, please join the 21st Century and embrace social media

Alex Dandanis has dabbled in a number of roles in online communications and PR, with everything from boutique agency to local government,  landing in the not-for-profit sector. Alex has a keen passion for learning everything she can about social media trends and website usability, living for the challenge of educating even the least savvy social media user. She uses her skills for good not evil.

@alexdandanis

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Dear not-for-profits, please join the 21st Century.

Australia has an estimated 600,000 not-for-profit organisations. 97% of these have an online presence. BUT it is reported that only 31% of NFPs are on Facebook and 22% on Twitter.

Sure, I acknowledge that a large number of NFPs have small staff numbers, or may even be operated by volunteers, but we want to be your friend.

There is no denying that we live in a social world. It’s time to embrace it. Social media for charities is a win-win.

Guess what? Australians prefer to give to charities closer to home. Social media is a way to bridge the gap and get really personal with your publics. Bonus – it essentially is free.

All sounds great doesn’t it? Before you commit to social media, please consider your resources. Is there someone at your organisation who understands your target audience? Someone who has at least half an hour a day to dedicate to your social networks? If you’ve answered yes, read on. If you’ve answered no, thanks for getting this far, touch base next year.

 

Not sure where to start? Let’s go back to basics. Start small with Facebook or Twitter.

Lock-in a URL/username

The easiest way to ensure you can be found is to have an account name that reflects your organisation’s name. It’s much easier to tell a supporter to go to facebook.com/yourcharityname rather than facebook.com/#4db72a404.

 

Brand it baby

No matter how big or small, your charity should have a consistent image. Put your logo as your display picture.

FRANk Alex Dandanis Social media for not-for-profits

On Facebook? Use timeline to your advantage. Keep your logo as your display picture and use your cover image to reflect your organisation. All about sport? Make sure your picture shows people playing sport. Animals? Even better…who doesn’t love a cute kitten in a cover image.

On Twitter? Upload a customized background image. Even if it’s a simple as using paint to make a background in your charity’s colour. It all helps.

 

Fill in all the boring bits

People will turn to your info section to find out more. Make sure the address of your office is listed, your website, phone number and email. Write a brief description for your bio – but remember, this isn’t a grant application, keep it light and to the point.

 

Content is king

If your charities page has no content, the only people who’ll like/follow it are your workmates and your mum. Start adding relevant photos, links to news articles, anything reflecting your organisation and what you stand for. Encourage your supporters to add their stories. Remember, don’t make it all about you.

 

Promote

Time to let your supporters know about your social profiles. Add links to the bottom of your email signature. Include it in your newsletter. Help people like/follow you at your events. Join in conversations relating to your sector. Use hashtags.

Here’s some inspiration to get you started:

Australian Red Cross
Cancer Council
RSPCA Australia
Starlight Children’s Foundation

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