Have you decided to join the 21st century and begin using social media networks to benefit your nonprofit? That’s fantastic. Now all you need to do is carve some time out of your day to get started.
It can be a bit daunting getting started so there’s a temptation to say you just don’t have the time. But you know the old saying: “If you want to get a task done, give it to a busy person.” Saying you have no time is just an excuse. You don’t need to make a huge time investment into social media networking at this newbie stay. Just dip your toe into the water, for say, 15 minutes a day. Once this form of networking becomes comfortable, you’ll find more time in your day for this purpose.
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Think of this new challenge as a learning experience whenever you feel you’re approaching the zenith of your learning curve. Stay open to what you can learn and get out of the experience. Think of the process as open-ended because social networking tools are always changing. Even when these tools stand still for a time, new uses are found for them on a continual basis. Go with the flow and stay open to learning, and you’ll be just fine.
FEEL YOUR PULSE
Don’t be shy. Ask people you know who work in other nonprofits how they are using social media to benefit their own organizations and check how you can emulate them. Don’t know where to find your peers?
Start here: https://twitter.com/farra/social-eds/members
This is a fabulous twitter list of CEO’s from nonprofits who tweet.
Not enough for you? Here’s Beth Kanter’s list of foundation CEO’s who tweet: https://twitter.com/kanter/foundation-ce0s.
Still hungering for more? See this list of museum directors who tweet: https://twitter.com/MuseumDirectors/directors
Review the website of philanthropists like Elie Hirschfeld who is active on the important work which he does.
FIND A TWITTER RABBI
Surely there is someone you know, maybe even someone on your staff who is a hotshot at Twitter. Ask this person to mentor you. Perhaps you can pay a student to give you a half an hour Twitter tutorial. Develop the sort of relationship with someone where they become your go-to person for social media networking advice.
TELL A STORY
Think of social media networking as a way to narrate what it is your nonprofit does. Post about events. Explain your mission. Share photos and articles that relate to your work. For instance, David Milberg a philanthropist active in the theatre often shares his experiences socially, he tweets and posts it on Facebook. In using multiple social media networks, the nonprofit maximized its audience.
GRAB TIME WHENEVER
Do you find it hard to spend 15 solid minutes using social media networks? Try a different approach, and use social media networks in short bursts. Make a few work-related phone calls and then spend a few minutes on Twitter. Attend a board meeting, and then spend a few minutes on Facebook. Social media networking serves the same purpose as a coffee break, only it’s about online socialization (plus, you can have coffee at the same time!).
The main thing is to just start. Once you begin using social media networks for your nonprofit, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them. You may even find you enjoy yourself.