The Good (and Bad) News For Non-Profits About Social Media
Every business in today’s marketplace is being radically transformed by the impact of social technology. This is especially true for non-profits. That’s because the way you connect, persuade, and maintain the interest of the community on which your cause awareness and fundraising depends is now being driven by fast-changing tools and real-time engagement.
The bad news for non-profits is that there is now twice as much pressure to excel in your communications if you want to survive and scale your positive impact. It was already difficult to compete with the larger resources, reach, and marketing expertise of formidable big-budget, for-profit brands. But now social technology demands a new range of skills and an understanding of a new set of dynamics in order to compete for eyeballs and attention in the social business marketplace.
Specifically, this means non-profits must become more effective storytellers that connect deeply with their donor community on an emotional level that motivates them to share, participate, and contribute using their personal social media channels. Each element of such storytelling is a skill-set in its own right but those that master them will become the non-profit leaders of the future. Those that fail to rise to the challenge of social technology will unfortunately become casualties of a social business marketplace that has already claimed so many household names in the world of entertainment, video, publishing, newspapers and marketing.
The good news is that social media is a re-set for all businesses, and those non-profits that get out in front of this opportunity can match their for-profit partners in driving awareness, reach, and impact because social media is freely available and not cost prohibitive. But to do this effectively, nonprofits must clearly define the purpose of their brand (specifically, beyond the cause they serve) so as to be distinct from their competitors. Secondly, non-profits must master the technology that enables them to scale their message and inspire their donors to amplify it even further.
It’s never been more important for non-profits to master social branding so that they not only connect with their community, but also use social technology to scale their important social impact. To ignore social technology is to court disaster, whether you’re a non-profit or for-profit. At the same time, it represents an unprecedented opportunity for non-profits to use technology to have the reach and impact they so richly deserve.
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