NonProfits: Go to where the people are

Posted: May 13, 2010 in Fund Raising, Innovate, Marketing
Tags: , , ,

Find the time to waste

“Just so you know, I think all that ‘facespace’ stuff is a lot of crap and a waste of time.”

Nothing like hearing that from a CEO when you’re about to extol the virtues of social media for non-profit organizations, namely his.  I had the check they insisted on giving me, I could get on an earlier flight and be home while it’s still light out — fight or flight?  Feeling the director that arranged my visit cringe, she later told me that her CEO was pushing for a massive succession of direct mail campaigns.

Still shaking his hand, I simply smiled and asked, “Wow, why am I here?”

“We need exposure, need to get the word out, our donor attrition is climbing and our programs are declining, we’re looking at doing something,” was the reply.

I love asking questions and when I inquired, “Where are they going?”  He rattled off two other local organizations (his impression).

My turn at the podium was in 20 minutes with an influential and potential hostile in the audience.  On my blackberry I opened the Facebook statistics page and quickly jotted some notes.  I also searched the other two local organizations for Facebook pages — score!  And one had 684 fans.  Thankfully my slides are all photographs, so I did some real quick shuffling.  The presentation I’d rehearsed was now being tailored — nothing like building the airplane while it’s in the air.

After the applause faded from the team building coach and I was introduced, I looked straight at the CEO and asked, “what would you do or spend to have the direct permission of over 600 prospective donors or participants to build quality relationships with them?”  Thankfully the CEO said, “what our last campaign cost.”  Score!

According to Nielsen social network users in the U.S. spend at least 6 hours a month in social media networks.

Rather than hope donors, members, customers come to you or randomly send checks through the mail, would it not be best to go where they already are and engage them?

Find the time to waste on engaging existing supporters, growing those relationships and exposing a broader network to your organization and its great work.

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