Non-profits are great. You know it, we know it, but, unfortunately not everyone feels the same way.
We hear the same reasons for not being part of a non-profit over and over again. Good, old-fashioned, one-on-one conversations can help turn the tide and make people realize professional associations, charities or other organizations are worth investing in. But sometimes people need more convincing. Sometimes your organization needs a way to reach not one, but tens, hundreds or thousands of potential connections consistently.
That’s when social media can play a role in turning even the most ardent disbeliever into a loyal member, volunteer, contributor, etc. We looked into a few of the more common situations where social media can help turn the tide, banish myths and highlight the benefits of being part of a non-profit.
Situation #1- The Investment Conundrum
Many people point to high membership dues without upfront value as a main reason for not joining their industry’s association. Many people only see the price tag of membership and not the benefits of it. Helping those in your industry see the true worth of an investment in membership can be done almost every day with social media in both big and small ways.
Let’s start with the small, or indirect, ways. By tweeting, posting, pinning and uploading frequently, your organization becomes the go-to source for information for your industry. All roads to knowledge go through your association. This shows people that it is worth being part of your association for its potential to unlock lessons that could bring their career to a new level.
On a larger, more direct scale, social media is a great outlet to promote events, draw attention to association services and map out exactly how an association plans to meet the needs of its members. Blogs are a great way to achieve this aim in detail and Twitter is a great platform to boost both reach and frequency of your message.
Situation #2- The Effort Theory
Social media is a great tool to show that making a difference is fun, flexible and has a huge impact.
For example, Nonprofit Technology Network announced a creative incentive via a blog and video post to raise $10,000 in scholarship money for people to attend the annual NTC conference. Executive Director Holly Ross let donors vote on which one of three embarrassing things she’d do if NTEN reached their goal. They quickly raised the $10,000 and donors voted for Holly to do a Single Ladies Video.
Using Instagram, Vine or Twitter to highlight the fun and inspiring moments of an event or fundraiser in pictures does more to change peoples’ attitudes than words can ever do.
Showing the extraordinary benefits of contributing can be done very effectively with Pinterest. By pinning an infographic of where someone’s money or time is going as it travels from their pocket to the cause is a great way for people to visualize how they personally are helping out.
Situation #3- The Generational Anomaly
Yes, associations have been around for many a decade and any institution that has been around that long is going to risk being called out of date. But the truth is every new generation breaking into an industry is going to benefit from joining an association more than their more experienced colleagues. Social media can put this into perspective.
Networking is a key ingredient to any young professional’s success and forming social media communities on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is a great way to encourage communication between members and show potential members the benefits of joining.
Similarly, highlighting the achievements of young professionals on blogs, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms may encourage others to get involved in your association and work to get recognized.
Situation #4- The Transparency Factor
When anyone gives money, or even time and loyalty, into an organization or a cause, they want to know where it’s going or have a say in the services that organization is providing. For example, many people want to know how much of the money they donated to charity is going to administrative costs and association members want to have a say in the education topics of a conference they are paying for. This is where social media steps in to lend a hand.
Social media gives the public easy access to organizations and makes it simple to start engaging and informative dialogues with the non-profits they get involved in or are thinking of getting involved in. That’s why providing information on spending or impact is easy for charities through Twitter or Facebook and pooling ideas on products and services is a piece of cake for associations on many different platforms.
More transparency means more trust and more trust means a loyal base of members, donors, volunteers and customers.
Battling myths is a past time of social media. That doesn’t mean every naysayer out there is going to turn into your biggest fan just because they are following your organization on Twitter. But a strong social media presence is another tool in your non-profit’s toolbox that be used to encourage participation, conversation and a more informed and active membership.