Social Media for Nonprofits: How Many Social Networks Should Your Organization Use?

By Kara FrostPDW Social Medias

I am currently a student at the University of Iowa working towards a certificate in Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication. My classmates and I are required to work with small nonprofits to study and observe their messaging platforms and  help their communication strategies become more effective. One thing I have found in many of these nonprofits is they often have little staff, with a select few employees doing 90% of the work.

In today’s digital age it is essential for nonprofits to have social media accounts to expand their donor base. Small nonprofits often have one person as the voice behind all social media, so haphazardly managing five or six accounts is less important than managing a one or two accounts well. So how does a nonprofit determine which social medias they should use? Nonprofit Tech for Good gives four ways to determine when you should quit a social network.

1. The Return on Investment is close to nothing.

WordPress is a great site to help determine how much traffic there is in your social network; it creates statistics for how many views your pages are getting. If you’re putting a consistent effort into your networks and they aren’t getting much love in return, it’s probably time to spend your valuable time elsewhere.

2. Your more popular networks could use some more attention.

We all know that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the major machines of social media. These networks have the most users and, by default, can give your pages the most attention – if you keep up with them. Giving these accounts most of your time is important, especially for networks like Facebook which is often the only social media that middle-aged adults are familiar with. It’s really not worth spending time on networks that don’t agree with your communication strategy if you don’t have the resources to keep up with the more relevant ones.

3. You don’t have your heart in the social media anymore.

It’s important to become familiar with the workings of different social medias, especially if you see an opportunity to promote your organization. It’s also important to appreciate that not every network you try is going to be a good fit. If you create an account and realize you don’t enjoy using it: 1) the account is probably not going to inspire people to follow you, and 2) you can put your time to better use on a different network.

4. The selected social network doesn’t fit your communication strategy.

Do some research on the demographics of social media users! If your organization is trying to reach young teens, LinkedIn is not the right network. Optimize your time by finding which networks are used most by your users; this will help you save time on the networks you don’t need and allow the biggest bang for your buck on the networks you decide to use.

I would love to know more about how social medias operate within your organizations, leave a message in the comment box and let me know!

Kara Frost is a senior at the University of Iowa studying Health & Human Physiology and currently working on receiving a certificate in Fundraising & Philanthropy Communication. She is very passionate about the nonprofit world and hopes to someday work for a nonprofit health organization.


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