Nonprofits wanting gifts should give them. Relationships work that way. Give and get.
This principle of reciprocity applies in spades to social media. Generosity begets generosity.
What you don’t want to do with social media is:
- Use it simply to broadcast stuff about you; you won’t get much in return. Self-centered is the opposite of donor-centered.
- Ask for likes and comments; then ignore them. You won’t build lasting relationships. You’ll get one-time transactions.
- Give folks stuff that’s irrelevant to them. That’s not a gift; don’t expect them to reciprocate.
- Give folks tricks instead of treats (i.e., poor service, lack of responsiveness, rude or dismissive behavior). Don’t be surprised if they throw eggs on your front porch via Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever. People will give as good as they get.
- Fail to ask folks what they want and need from your organization. Don’t be surprised if they aren’t knocking on the door to ask how they can help you.
- Use social media only to ask for donations and sales. Again, you’ll just end up with short-term transactions rather than transformative, long-term relationships that help you fulfill your mission.
- Pretend you can ignore social media entirely. Do you still treat it as peripheral, rather than central, in today’s highly connected world? You won’t meet folks where they are; this misses the boat entirely.
Today, social is a key way people give and receive. It’s central to how new relationships are discovered and formed. It’s essential to how lasting relationships are built and measured. Ultimately, your mission will succeed or fail on the mutually sustaining benefits (or lack thereof) experienced by all parties over time.
There is something magical about breakfast in bed. Create a little magic for your supporters. When you make your supporters feel cherished, they’re likely to return the kindness. See what wonders ensue.
How much time does your organization spend giving vs. getting through social channels? Is there one giving strategy that’s worked especially well for you? Please share!
Photo: Flickr Cory Doctorow