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How to Make Social Media Work for Your Not-for-Profit or Charity

September 4, 2014

Social media is here to stay—it is no fad. Individual services like Myspace or Flickr may differ in popularity, but the hyper-connectivity common to all social media sites is a permanent fixture of modern life.

Most organisations are aware of social media’s popularity—it would be hard not to. The biggest service, Facebook, has more than one billion users.

But what some organisations have yet to grasp is the strength of social media. Many charities have already embraced social media as an enduring, useful part of their fundraising and marketing efforts. Yet some still lag behind, questioning whether they should use social media or how social media can benefit not-for-profit organisations.

The benefits of social media are obvious—organisations can utilise existing social media connections to broadcast their message and encourage user engagement. The key to successful social media is less obvious: content.

Social media content is anything that sparks users to engage and interact with your organisation. Content can be anything from a professional video to a letter written by one of your volunteers.

Although your content does not have to be original, the most effective content usually is. Your content also need not cost a fortune to create. In fact, the most popular content is often created on a shoe-string budget. Users are not always seduced by production value. If your organisation’s content is honest and sends a clear message, your followers will probably engage and share it among their networks.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, and wondering how to go about making original, shareable content, do not worry—you are surrounded by inspiration. Everything your organisation does is an idea for potential content. This includes work done by volunteers and employees, or positive outcomes experienced by the people you help. You can recycle your charity’s everyday experiences into interesting, effective content that drives involvement and sharing.

Remember, though, that highly shared content does not necessarily equal engagement. Content shared by 100 people, all of whom have agreed to volunteer for your organisation, is more effective than content shared by 1,000 people, with only five agreeing to lend their time.

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