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5 Reasons You Need A Social Media Strategy for Your Nonprofit

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PinterestGuest post by Julia Campbell 

There is no doubt about it – social media has changed the game in terms of how people communicate, share information and learn about new things in their lives. 

With 73% of online adults using at least one social network and almost half (42%) of all online adults using multiple platforms, nonprofits that do not embrace this tectonic shift will get left behind.

Nonprofits are jumping on social channels in greater numbers.  The most important social media platforms for nonprofits are Facebook (95%), Twitter (64%), YouTube (38%), and LinkedIn (26%).

However, some nonprofit boards and staff members are still skeptical and even fearful of jumping into the social media ocean.

Here are just 5 reasons why you need a social media strategy for your organization:

1)     You need to communicate with your donors and supporters where they are.

In her great new book Mobile for Good, nonprofit social media expert Heather Mansfield explains that nonprofits now have to engage and interact with five different generations of supporters.

Social media participation crosses the majority of these five generations. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket.

Not only that, social media has completely changed and revolutionized how people of all ages communicate and how they consume information. For a nonprofit organization to stick their head in the sand and simply deny that this revolution exists does a disservice to the mission of the organization.

2)     The numbers don’t lie. 

  • 57% of Facebook users “Like” a charity or cause on Facebook so they can publicly show support of it to their friends.
  • 47% of Americans discover and/or learn more about causes they care about via social media and online channels.
  • 55% of those who follow, like and otherwise engage with a nonprofit on social media channels have been inspired to “take further action” (and 59% of this 55% donate money).
  • The average donation made via social media is $59 and growing every year.

3)     Visual storytelling is the new marketing and fundraising.

We all know that statistics are not nearly as compelling as stories. 

  • St. Baldrick’s is using success stories and personal testimonials on Facebook to raise thousands of dollars – and they only post a few times a week to Facebook.
  • Muttville Dog Rescue has used Facebook to increase their adoptions and raise awareness about fostering dogs, all based on storytelling.
  • The Wenham Museum in Wenham, MA wanted to reach a younger audience, and actively uses Pinterest& Instagram to post information on the stories behind the exhibits and the artists featured in their collections.

4)     You are more likely to succeed if you have a plan.

Many nonprofit staff are so focused on putting out fires every single day their eyes glaze over when you bring up adding one more thing.

The thought of feeding the social media machine can seem overwhelming. However, if there is a plan in place and a strategy in place, it may be better received.

Use my free social media calendar template to get started and create a plan for how it will all get done, and attend UMass Boston’s Social Media Day for my session, 10 Steps to a Successful Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits!

5)     Engaging with supporters is NEVER a waste of time.

Remember that spreading the word about your nonprofit and your work is not a waste of time.

Start small and grow from there. Do not attempt to be on more than two social networks if you are just starting out and do not have a dedicated social media staff person.

Begin with what you are most comfortable with, so the learning curve won’t be as drastic. Explain to your supervisor that you will regularly evaluate and measure what you are doing online.

Join me and dozens of other social media experts on May 14th for a day devoted to social media!

In my session, 10 Steps to a Successful Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits, nonprofit professionals will learn how to implement a successful social media strategy in 10 steps.

Topics to be covered:

  • How are nonprofits using social media to raise money and awareness (best practices)?
  • What are some tips to engage supporters on social networks?
  • How can a nonprofit integrate all communication channels – online and offline – for maximum success?

Nonprofits will gain an understanding of just how much time is required to implement a social media strategy, which channels are right for their organization and how many resources (money, staff time) are necessary for success.


Meet #UMBSocial Speaker and Boston Tweetup Co-founder Joselin Mane

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Joselin ManeJoselin Mane is a powerful Social Media Influencer, and we are excited to announce that he will be one of the guest speakers at our 4th #UMBSocial conference on May 14th. Joselin was gracious enough to answer a few questions and we have included his responses below. If you have any questions about the event on May 14th, please contact us using the form below or reach out to us on Twitter.

To register for the event, click here.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I am first generation Dominican American, born and raised in Lawrence, MA. It was here I that I found a love for technology and innovation when I was first introduced to a computer at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club (LBGC). The LBGC also helped me obtain a scholarship to Holderness School in Plymouth, NH.  I later attended Northeastern University for Electrical and Computer Engineering. My co-op experience took place at Gillette, where I also started LITBeL Consulting, an internet marketing and New Marketing training company, and I eventually worked at IBM after graduating. Within two years I was featured in a full page ad for IBM, as my team helped Herman Miller save over $1 million in one year. The same strategy that I used for Herman Miller, I use to help my clients.

Joseline Mane - #UMBSocial Presenter

2. When did you begin working in Social Media?

Social Media was essentially an extension or evolution to what was already evolving on the internet. Websites had not only become more interactive, they also enabled people and friends to connect and exchange ideas more easily. I was an early adopter of computer technology as a child, yet there was a particular incident that helped me embrace social media: A company was scraping names and using them to promote their product – so when someone would search for my name, they would see it associated with the company’s product in the search results. When I asked them to stop using my name they said I should be able to remove it myself. I accepted the challenge presented and I now control the first 300 references, or first 30 pages, of my name on Google and other search engines. I achieved this via Social Media and I currently help clients accomplish the same thing.

3. What does a typical work day look like for you?

There is not a typical day for me, however there are typical nights as I attend 2-3 events a night. During the day, I either run Mew Marketing/Social Media training, create/review a social campaign, help plan/promote an upcoming networking event, and/or meet with an existing/new client or prospect. My role is a superconnector. I help connect people and brands together.

4. Who is your Social Media role model or who inspires you?

It might sound cliche, but my mother inspires me. She left the Dominican Republic on the hope that The United States was going to be a great place of opportunity for me.

5. What is the hardest thing about Social Media?

Making the decision to leverage it.

6. What do you see as up-and-coming trends in Social Media?

We will begin to see more people within companies leveraging Social Media collectively, instead of just one department managing the brand’s online presence.

7. Can you name a brand or company that you admire for its Social Media strategy/execution?

There are so many but yet still not enough! That being said, JetBlue stands out as being active, engaging, and entertaining.

8 Did you make any Social Media related mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in the future?

Yes, a few human errors (spelling or auto-correct errors. I follow the carpenter’s rule to tweeting: “Think twice Tweet once.”

9. To be successful in social media you need to …?

Listen, be helpful, be consistent, and be present.

10. What is your favorite book and why?

“Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.” It’s the first big book I ever read.

11. What is your favorite quote?

“Reach for the moon because even if you miss you will still be among the stars.”

12. What is your favorite movie and why?

Matrix – it is cinematically and technologically innovative.

13. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Give your best effort all of the time!

14. How can we find out more about you and you work?

Twitter: @JoselinMane (Real-time) Business Website

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Registration is open

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Dear all,

Finally, the Social Media Days website is up and we welcome you to register for our next event at May 14th.

Please check out more about the Social Media Days on this website and follow us on Twitter (@umbsocial#umbsocial) and/or like our Facebook Fanpage (

All the best from UMass Boston

Werner Kunz

Founder and Host of the Social Media Days at UMass Boston