Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nonprofits harnessing Facebook and Twitter

The article Have You Friended Your Favorite Cause? written by Alan Greenblatt discusses the relationship of social media networks and nonprofit organizations. Donate Life America has teamed up with Facebook in registering organ donors. NTEN, Common Knowledge & Blackbaud conducted a survey that found  "the average nonprofit's fan or follower base grew by 30 percent on Facebook and 81 percent on Twitter 2011."

Nonprofit organizations can use social media platforms to help bring their cause to the minds of millions. They must however have a way of reaching them. Just because an organization has a Twitter or a Facebook doesn't mean they will automatically gain followers. People follow other groups for a reason, these groups must offer something of interest to their audience, which brings me to my first point, that these groups have an audience that they must cater to. An audience in the social media sphere has an attention span that is very short and seems to be getting shorter as the days go by. Organizations must take into account that people are busy and don't really have time to read a four page article filled with things they just don't have the patience to read through anymore. They are instead turning to the 140 character limits of twitter to tell their story. This can present as many opportunities as there are challenges.

These stories give people a reason to follow their organizations. They must intrigue the reader and get them attached to the organizations so the organizations can get the information out to their followers. One way that they can do this is by offering their audience a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the corridors of their cause.  Sometimes these big and famous nonprofits can become dehumanized and it is a refreshing experience to be able to interact with those who are working on things that their followers truly care about. These social networks allow their followers to interact with these big nonprofits. It gives a reader the ability to be noticed and interact with people they usually just read about or see in photos.

Facebook and Twitter are still ever evolving platforms in which we all have to adapt to. These companies are still working out how to harness the power of this media to its advantage. They see the opportunities and challenges and obviously with the success of the Red Cross who raised $33 million dollars in aid by using twitter and Donate Life America's organ donation registry teaming up with Facebook it is a worthy place for nonprofits to look into.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought about the power that FB and Twitter could have on nonprofits. The fact that the Red Cross was able to raise so much money using Twitter is outrageous. I understand that these nonprofits need to attract an audience and keep them, but some of the audience probably sought out and chose to follow their favorite nonprofit because of the charity aspect of it. The audience probably found their philanthropy of choice, liked it on FB and donate because they wanted to. It would be interesting to see a nonprofit that is up-and-coming and how much they would grow from using Twitter and FB, rather than the popular Red Cross, which practically everyone knows about.