I have been having a lot of conversations recently about what constitutes a 'grant ready' nonprofit organization. I am compiling opinions and points of view from grant writers, NPO's and funders. What I have listed here are the LinkedIn group discussions on the subject to date. When all of the data is compiled I will post more detailed findings. This information will be aggregated and put into a presentation form later this year.
Grant Professionals Association:
Grant Writers-Grant Writing
Non-profit Consultants and Grant Writers
Professional Grant Writers-Grant Writing
Thursday, February 2, 2012
This is for those of us who use social media outlets to communicate the message of our nonprofit organization. What is your biggest issue with your social media campaigns? Chances are you will answer ‘the need for analytics on my posts, Tweets and blogs’. Again, you are not alone. Every corporation, nonprofit, or small business in the social media space is looking for the same thing.
Domo, (www.domo.com) an executive management platform and information aggregator, has identified some useful analytics topics to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns.
1) Gauge Social Sentiment-Social sentiment is the tone and volume of the comments about your organization. Capture what people are saying about you through Tweets, Facebook, blogs, and LinkedIn comments and analyze the results. Is your strategy on track, or are your communications being misinterpreted? We only have to remember the repositioning of Netflix this past summer or the dismal failure of the opening of the movie ‘Borat’ to understand how influential social sentiment can be, and how quickly it can be disseminated.
2) Employee sentiment-Think your employees aren’t on Facebook, LinkedIn or Tweeting? Think again. Tracking what your employees are saying about your organization can be very helpful. Is your organization a stimulating and friendly place to work or so consumed with the bottom line that it is a pressure cooker? What is the atmosphere you want to convey? Listening to employees over social media may seem like ‘Big Brother’, but it is effective.
For those not comfortable with this approach, here is another option. Offer a workplace blog space for employees to anonymously communicate their thoughts about the organization-positive and negative- for managers to hear. The anonymity of a blog can let many employees feel that their concerns will be heard without personal repercussions. Hearing your employees’ concerns can help you to react to trends in the workplace. Acting on or verbally addressing your employees concerns (within reason) can lead to more positive reviews of your workplace in their social media space.
Don’t forget to ASK your employees to Tweet, Blog or post the positive steps that your company has taken. Good news travels slower than bad news, so ask your social media employee ambassadors to spread the word!
3) Share of Voice-This pertains to those actively using social media. To appropriately gauge share of voice (social media market share) you need to know what your competitors are doing. How many ‘friends’ are on their Facebook page, how many Tweets do they put out/receive each day (follow their conversations to find out), how active is their blog or their LinkedIn profile? Where does your organization sit in this competitive landscape? There may be opportunities here for nonprofits with similar Mission statements to partner on blog posts or Tweets in favor of raising awareness to larger issues.
Stories are sexy, but Analytics drive decisions. Your organization’s public image profile and success at conveying its message lies in the numbers and tone of the conversations about your organization. Determining where you stand in your sector and the impact of your message can help you to reposition yourself or to capitalize on your ‘buzz’.
Social media outlets are tools. Use the tools.
I would like to thank DOMO for distilling the three main topic statements-‘Social Sentiment, Employee Sentiment, and Share of Voice’. Detail about these statements are mine and do not reflect the views of DOMO.
Although much has been written on this subject, I am throwing my thoughts into this already overcrowded arena.
Take heart nonprofit organizations you are not alone. Every company from manufacturing to media is trying to figure out how to monetize social media. The ease of use and the incredible reach potential of social media is very appealing to any company or nonprofit organization with a message. Set up a Facebook page and the donations will start rolling in-well, maybe and maybe not. I would assert that despite the stories of fundraising success in social media the medium is just not appropriate for every nonprofit.
If you do move forward with a social media plan, first decide what purpose you want your social media to serve. Are you disseminating information, raising awareness, raising money, or taking the temperature of your market? Setting a strategy will help you to be successful and stay on track when using this fast paced medium. Remember that social media is a tool to be used as a distribution point for your message or story. Like any other tool it has to be used the right way to be effective. If you set up social media sites and let them sit on the shelf, they will languish and be forgotten about. In other words, if you sign on, use it. Here are a few things to consider:
Don’t let ease of set up fool you. Social media is an evolving conversation, and like any effective conversation needs constant input, ideas, and stimulation. The set up is the easy part. If your organization is not prepared to post, Tweet or update on a frequent basis your entry into the social media foray will not be successful. Users of social media love exciting news, but without constant input they will forget about your organization in a heartbeat. Keep your information interesting, appealing and short. Interactive games are a great way to increase interest in your organization. (Check out game developer
Don’t assign an intern to run your social media campaigns. This is a very common mistake. ‘A 20-something college intern must know a lot about social media so we will put her in charge of the updates’. Please do not do this. Your social media, like your website or any written materials are your first line of communication with the public, potential users of your services, and prospective donors. Your social media communication must come from a strategic media and messaging plan that has been developed and vetted by program officers, senior staff and the Board. A senior program or marketing officer should be tasked with updating social media. Remember, it is not what you say; it is what the person reading takes away. Proper communication to convey a specific tone is a skill that must be employed for social media to be effective.
Don’t assume that you will raise money with social media. Raising money using social media outlets is best directed to a specific cause with a specific goal (example: help us raise $5,000 by sponsoring our team) and not a long-term device like an annual campaign. People who consume social media want and are accustomed to immediate input and gratification. Give them something they can identify with and act on quickly. Raising awareness, disseminating information, and gathering friends for your organization may be a more appropriate use of your social media outlets.
There are plenty of organizations that use social media and many who don’t use social media. The only correct strategy is the one that is consistent and works for your organization. If you use social media be active and engaged. If you don’t, be prepared to utilize other communication outlets to their fullest potential to get your message heard. To determine if social media is right for your organization, you may want to send out a social media ‘test balloon’. Set up a Twitter feed, Tweet daily and gather followers then determine if social media is a viable avenue for your organization. See my next post ‘Taking Your Organization’s Temperature: What Social Media Can Tell Us’
that discusses measurement analytics for social media.