Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Social Media for Non-Profits : A Lesson

After some hectic weeks and hard-laboured efforts to pull my organization out of some financial mess that they were venturing into, I am now back blogging. So I thought its best to talk about my experiences in the last few months with my work, The Social Media!

Few months back, we started a service for Non-Profits in the US to sign up with our SMM program and get to develop their Donor Database considerably. SMM is Social Media Marketing. The idea was to promote the Non-Profit’s ‘Message’ with the help of the easy access to the world population that we have on the Social Media portals. The approach had to be personal and the goal was planned to be donations. 5 months down the line we failed miserably in getting donations galore for our Non-Profit clients as we had promised earlier. Our Business model also suffered majorly since our costs were to be recovered from the share of these donations. Now, about the lessons learnt:

  • Twitter is an extinguished tool now. It has not got the ability to attract attention towards a message being prompted there. More importantly it’s way too fast to catch another person’s attention. If you tweet about your non-profit then your followers would read it and at the best ‘help’ you by retweeting it. But as the statistics often showed us, a link tweeted was opened lesser times than been retweeted. But, having said that, it still remains the best tool to make an online conversation and gather individual attention if used in a personalized manner.

  • The variety of Facebook is not properly used in most Social Media promotions. And we did the same mistake. Facebook is powerful and that’s not because of its huge reach which has propelled it to become the world’s second ranked website after Google. Their power is from the diverse ways of reach that they have envisaged for their users. The Apps like games and Causes, their Fan Pages and their Wall are all tools to reach out to more and more of the Facebook crowd.

  • An Online campaign is never fruitful without an offline stimulus. There has to be some worthy good for the people who are promoting your cause or donating for you. The campaigns should be planned in such a way that they bring out a Viral motive to promote the cause. What that ‘motive’ is, would be the challenge.

  • And finally, the most important aspect where we did miss out was to Phase the entire service program. Whatever campaign SMM or SEO that you run for a Non-Profit, the Non-Profit’s would not cease to send Email Messages or Appeals for donation. So, it was important for a SMM Campaigner of Non-Profits to store the contact details of all relevant donor prospects in one Database and reorganize a plan to utilize that data to convert them as donors.

It’s important for us to know that Social Media is just a buzzword and whatever way of campaigning works in gaining mass attention is to be treated in a dedicated yet unique manner because that is a SOLUTION. Every detailed aspect of such a campaign should be attaining a database of probable donors. That’s a step one should look at first and then move to the challenging part of conversions. I’ll write more in the nature and ideas in Social Media. Thanks for reading.


Sanchita said...

That was an excellent post Sumit!
Being involved in SMM myself, I have learnt that most of the points you'v mentioned are true. My question is why don't we spread out to LinkedIn and Bebo when it comes to the campaign and why stick to twitter and FB only? Also, would be great to know more about using the Cause and Fan pages on facebook.

Thanks again Man!

Sumit Roy said...

Hey Sanchita, Thanks for your comment. Now about the queries.
LinkedIn - Owing to the nature of its user base, it can be used more for professional campaigns where the business executive class's attention needs to be drawn.
Bebo - Now, Bebo is more of a content sharing and social bookmarking website rather than social networking. This is another interesting topic that I intend to write a blog on real soon i.e. the difference between social bookmarking and social networking. You can go to FB and check out the Causes app. Let me know if you find anything interesting there or not. Keep reading...hopefully I've got rid off the writer's block for good ;)