Nonprofits need to use social media more

Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:19 a.m.

Nonprofits And Social Media

Nonprofit agencies and organizations need to embrace social media now, according to information presented at a recent Association of Fundraising Professionals meeting.

Sandra Neely, development officer for Devereux Texas-Victoria, attended the seminar conducted by Carolyn Appleton, a certified fundraising executive.

"The basic message is that even smaller nonprofit shops like we have in Victoria are going to have to step up and start using social media," Neely said.

Appleton called those who aren't yet effectively using sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, "late adopters."

"Part of the problem is deciding how much time we can devote to it," Neely said. "In shops the size we have in Victoria, staffs are spread thin."

Korie Krohn, a member of two small nonprofits with no paid staff - Friends of the Victoria Public Library and the Victoria Dog Obedience Club - said, "We're using Facebook to connect with the community. It is a great way to advertise upcoming events and raise awareness of our organization."

Although numerous other nonprofits in the area have a Facebook presence, accepting donations through the Internet is lagging.

Neely said social media and mobile giving are great ways to connect to donors, especially individuals.

"We have to focus on the individuals," she said. "Eighty percent of all donations are made by individuals."

Increasingly those individuals are a growing segment of new givers.

"While Devereux-Victoria campus is not currently using mobile devices for fundraising we do have campuses in our system that are currently test marketing them," said Neely. "I expect to see this donation option in our near future. 2012 will mark the 100th year for the Devereux Foundation and I expect us to step into the next 100 years embracing the best way to communicate with the newest donors - Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000).

"Since Millennials are still learning to give, they tend to be influenced most by their peer groups. This group spends and inordinate amount of time on social networks. They are the ones most likely to give web gifts."

A June study, "New Directions," conducted by the AFP and Kaptivate, summarizes the changes afoot for nonprofit fundraisers.

"Nonprofits are beginning to deploy social media campaigns that tie into mobile capabilities, in many instances, social media campaigns have become the call to action and mobile has become the means to take action."



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