If you build it, will they come?

This morning I was reading an article entitled, Will Nonprofits Raise Money on Social Media in 2013? published on Care2′s nonprofit marketing blog.  The article begins by focusing upon the stark reality that 98% of all nonprofits failed to raise a single dime on Facebook last year, but then uses this fact to remind charitable organizations that they should not expect or attempt to utilize social media as a stand alone fundraising platform.  Rather, organizations should utilize social media as part of an integrated, multi-channel marketing approach.  As such, the success of your organizations social media efforts should not measured on an individual basis, but rather as a part of your overall fundraising and marketing metrics.  Social media can be a powerful tool in furthering your organization’s mission and fundraising objectives if you understand the platform, your audience and have reasonable objectives.  Unfortunately, many nonprofits continue to primarily view social media as a platform to solicit donations and advertise events, as a result many of these organizations don’t recognize that they have already failed before they’ve even started.

The same advice that I often provide companies and organizations about their website can also be applies to a nonprofits use of social media:  It is not 1989, you are not Kevin Costner portraying a farmer in Iowa and just because you build it, it doesn’t mean followers or donations will come.  The same way that simply having a website does not guarantee traffic, simply having a social media profile does guarantee hoards of people rushing to empty their wallets to support your great cause.

Social media marketing is an arduous, time-consuming and often times frustrating activity in which success is built upon understanding your audience and careful measurement of content consumption and planned creation.  So with a new year upon us, nonprofit managers should take the time to reassess their marketing objectives and efforts, research best practices, commit their organization to creating an integrated multi-channel approach to marketing & fundraising, and create an environment that encourages creativity.

Below are some links to help you get off to a fresh start in 2013:


Jarid Brown is the owner of HCM Brown, a digital marketing firm, and the Director of Online Interactions for The Hope Institute in Springfield, IL. Connect with Jarid Brown on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+.

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