SMBME #39 – Social Media and Non-Profits

Social media and non-profits go so well together, it’s almost as if they were made for one another. That’s why this breakfast is a favorite every year. This time around was no exception. Social media is much about story telling – and a non-profit’s success relies largely on getting the story out there into the world. Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to building awareness and a community of advocates. Because social media and non-profits go so well together, almost all tactics are fair game for experimentation. Many approaches are a pretty good fit. And I believe most social media folks would agree: it’s helpful to hear what different social media tactics have worked – as much as it’s helpful to hear about what hasn’t worked.

Eliza Warren from The Center for Grieving Children in Portland, Maine kicked things off for us. The center serves more than 4,000 grieving children, teens, families and young adults annually through peer support, outreach, and education. Eliza uses Facebook primarily to create conversations that reach grieving families that could benefit from the center’s services as well as potential donors, sponsors and volunteers. Little things like tagged photo posts help to spread the word to the social networks of supporters and volunteers. Eliza also talked about the center’s willingness to experiment and try new things like Pinterest – some have worked, and some have not. The difference is doing more of what has worked, and doing less of (or changing) what hasn’t.

Next up, we heard from Frankee Chappa of Maine Youth Leadership. MYL is a non-profit organization committed to working with Maine youth to seek out, recognize and develop their leadership skills. Although the organization has a presence on both Facebook and Twitter, Facebook is the main focus. In addition to the standard Facebook Page, MYL also uses Groups to engage. Frankee talked about the challenges of engaging teens in social media like handling harmless but non so appropriate posts and rogue group or page creation. She also talked about creating a social media agreement.

See Frankee’s presentation here:

Our last speaker was Andrea Barry from Idealware, a non-profit that provides thoroughly researched, impartial and accessible resources about software to help nonprofits make smart software decisions. Andrea talked about finding the right balance of social media and web marketing channels unique to each non-profits needs. Just because a social media channel is out there, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Do what you have the capacity and resources to do. And have a strategy before you start.

And of course we would never be able to pull these events off without the help of our sponsors: Mainely SEO, Hall Internet Marketing, GWI, Others! Fair Trade Coffee, and The Internet Educator and Insight & Clarity.