Steven Shattuck of Bloomerang wrote something for Nonprofit Hub called the Ultimate Nonprofit Social Media Scheduling Guide. And I kind of just love, love, love it.
Essentially, it suggests just one thing as your absolute key to a successful nonprofit social media strategy.
It’s deceptively simple.
I say deceptively, because at first blush it looks like the easiest thing in the world to do.
And it’s super simple to remember.
Here’s what you do:
The. Exact. Same. Thing. Every. Day.
Sounds like you could master that, right?
Let me show you what just one month from Steven looks like:
May has an annual high of five Saturdays. Weekends can have sneaky good engagement for posting on social media when you have something to say.
May 1 – Post if you have something to say
May 2 – Post if you have something to say
May 3 – Post if you have something to say
May 4 – Post if you have something to say
May 5 – Post if you have something to say
May 6 – Post if you have something to say
May 7 – Post if you have something to say
May 8 – Post if you have something to say
May 9 – Post if you have something to say
May 10 -Post if you have something to say
May 11 – Post if you have something to say
May 12 – Post if you have something to say
May 13 – Post if you have something to say
May 14 – Post if you have something to say
May 15 – Post if you have something to say
May 16 – Post if you have something to say
May 17 – Post if you have something to say
May 18 – Post if you have something to say
May 19 – Post if you have something to say
May 20 – Post if you have something to say
May 21 – Post if you have something to say
May 22 – Post if you have something to say
May 23 – Post if you have something to say
May 24 – Post if you have something to say
May 25 – Post if you have something to say
May 26 – Post if you have something to say
May 27 – Post if you have something to say
May 28 – Post if you have something to say
May 29 – Post if you have something to say
May 30 – Post if you have something to say
May 31 – Post if you have something to say
I imagine you get the point. Or, perhaps, the lack thereof?
Because if you’re merely posting to a schedule, and don’t always have something to say that will be relevant to your constituents, then what are you accomplishing?
Nothing meaningful (unless checking things off a list rates).
If you lack clarity on your goal, there’s no point to your social media post.
I remember the first time I read Penelope Burk’s Donor-Centered Fundraising and learned that donors really don’t care that much for newsletters. They don’t mind hearing from you with “news,” but they have no need for those quarterly monstrosities filled with hype, ego and retreaded stories. How does that help them? How does that relate to their lives?
Donors would much prefer to receive just one page of real news whenever you have it, rather than a newsletter filled with a bunch of stuff you slammed in there just because “it was time, and we had a deadline to meet.”
Social media publishing and newsletter publishing can lead you down similar paths. If you’re only posting because it’s on your schedule and part of your job description, you’re not coming from a donor-centered place.
This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook to find something meaningful to post.
Because you should be trying to help and delight your supporters. You should be using social media. And email. And snail mail. And a blog. And every channel you can that happens to be one where your donors are found.
The best nonprofit social media strategies are purposeful.
Every post must have a donor-centered purpose. Such as, “when someone sees this they will:”
- Become inspired about our cause (and ready to become further engaged next time)
- Learn to trust our expertise (and open to hearing more)
- Feel they just received something of value (and inclined to reciprocate)
- Get a good chuckle (that positively inclines them towards us)
- Empathize with someone who needs their help
- Feel compelled to answer our call to action
- Feel a warm glow (that positively inclines them towards us next time we ask for something)
- Want to share our post (thereby broadening our network)
Social media should be “social.”
A two-way street. A value-for-value exchange. A feedback opportunity.
Social media should not be an information dump.
A one-way transaction. An egocentric report. A boasting opportunity.
The best nonprofit social media strategies are, in fact, scheduled ahead of time.
But what you’ll use to fill your schedule is not something decided randomly. By one isolated staffer. In a vacuum. On a whim.
Ideally you’ll have regular meetings with other folks on your team so you can unearth the “news.”
And you’ll discuss how your supporters might answer the question “What’s in this for me?” when you share that news.
You’ll review what’s happening across your organization, and how that might be of interest to supporters. If you decide it’s probably not that interesting (like you just amended your bylaws… hired a new database administrator… got a new website), then you won’t share that.
You’ll figure out something else to share.
Be on the lookout for donor-centered social media sharing opportunities.
Generally, anything that shows the impact of your donors’ philanthropy is worthwhile.
As is anything that celebrates your donors and lets them know you think of them as your heroes.
As is anything emotional that helps supporters connect with your cause.
As is anything that reassures donors they’ve made a good choice engaging with you.
As is anything that just makes people feel they’ve received something useful that answers their questions or helps resolve their problems.
- A client success story
- A donor thank you/pat on the back
- A testimonial from a donor, client or community leader
- New research
- Interesting articles related to your mission
- An inspirational quote
- “How to” lists, podcasts or videos
Hold a brainstorming session with key individuals across departments to come up with an array of content you think would be helpful to donors. In my experience, every nonprofit has a lot of hidden gold. Check here for some types of shareable content for different types of nonprofit causes: Why Nonprofit Content Marketing Should Help; Not Sell.
Post when you have something to say your supporters want to hear.
Don’t mistake me as saying you can abstain from social media most of the time because, heck, who has that much real “news?”
You do have all sorts of content folks will find engaging and useful.
While it may not be news to you, a lot of it is news to them. They don’t live and breathe your work on a daily basis like you do.
It’s interesting to learn how the sausage is made. What goes on behind the scenes as the opera is staged. What happens when there are six people in your waiting room, and you only have enough case managers to meet with three of them. What the signs are that alert you to the fact a species is endangered. What keeps homeless people on the streets.
And, yes, you do have to use social media if you want to get messaging across in our digitally revolutionized age.
Even if you’re using plenty of tried-and-true fundraising techniques like direct mail, email and events. Because, increasingly, online media is one of the primary ways folks communicate and get their information.
That’s a boat you can’t afford to miss.
So… get on board with a plan that meets your constituents where they are. With news they can use and outcome-focused content that gives them a warm glow. You’ll find it will augment your fundraising results by increasing your reach and enabling you to stay top of mind with current and prospective supporters.
Want to become more thoughtful about your online communications plan?
Grab the following:
Donor-Centered Content Marketing Worksheet & Checklist [Free Download]. Written by me and available on the Bloomerang website.
How to Stand Out and Build Loyalty Using Social Media Tip List & Worksheet . Written by me for Clairification School (free for students), it will help you establish clear goals, develop a plan to stand out, determine communication quality and quantity, pick your social networks, optimize your presence and more.
To your success!