Social media typically has been isolated to a particular department (often marketing) within nonprofits. But now, its value can be realized across multiple departments in the organization. And before you clutch your chest at the idea of your department chairs getting their own Twitter accounts, let me clarify that the rest of the organization will gain value — not from posting content, but from studying the data you can acquire from social media.
Data from social media can help your entire organization make more qualified, more informed, and better decisions.
Here’s an example. When working with the National Wildlife Federation two years ago, thanks to the leadership of Danielle Brigida (@starfocus) and Jaime Matyas (@ecosoccermom), they were open and willing to discuss ideas, but the value of social media just didn’t click for the “non-social” parts of the organization. Yet, when I met with them recently, we discussed how we could help specific departments, and we set up meetings with some of them.
When we told the director of membership that we knew what people were retweeting the most and commenting about on their Facebook page, he was moderately interested. But when we told him we could learn what current members, and even lapsed members, were most passionate about, his eyes lit up, he sat up straight in his chair, and said, “When can I get the first report?”
When social media can provide qualified and specific details on how to make improvements to campaigns, appeals, etc. – the kind of improvements that will drive direct, tangible results – then that’s not just magic. That’s return on investment (ROI)!