This is a guest post by Chad Siemer
By now most organizations have realized that social media is not a fad. Yet getting involved with social media still seems like a daunting task to overcome for many. Yes, achieving success with social media takes time, patience, and dedication, but organizations really can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities available.
If they take the time to be intentional and genuinely engage with their audiences, charitable organizations are have great potential for social media success, including new ways to receive donations and practice outreach. Social media gives churches, charities and other non-profits the chance to raise money in ways that don’t exist anywhere else. It allows them to personalize their marketing or fundraising campaign and potentially reach thousands or even millions of people.
Charities and churches often have some of the most touching stories to share and pictures, videos and content highlighting these stories are some of the most widely shared content on social media. Whether it’s an event you’re trying to raise money for or a problem you’re wishing to highlight, making that emotional and personal connection with supporters is the ultimate goal of any social media campaign.
Charitable foundations and churches rely on public support more than any other kind of organization. In recent years, charities trying to raise awareness and build support have found success through social media. It presents many opportunities, including the chance to:
- Raise donations
- Share success stories
- Ask for volunteers
- Network with similar organizations
- Encourage others to get involved
- Show the impact of your work
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter give charities the chance to reach a younger audience that’s often more difficult to engage via traditional marketing methods. If you’re planning on launching a social media campaign to raise money or awareness about an issue, think about who your target audience is and what will they will find engaging. People will share your content only if it engages them and they consider it worth sharing. Like all of us, youth love to share touching or funny videos, so keep that in mind as you’re crafting content. The right video may go viral, giving you more exposure than you ever thought possible.
Perhaps the primary benefit of social media is that it’s two-way communication. Traditional charity campaigns through print and television advertising don’t allow for instant feedback like social media does. If supporters wish to contact you about getting involved or helping in various ways they can and this type of engagement is crucial to raising money. Supporters like to know who they’re supporting and if they’re involved, they’re more likely to stay involved. People support what they feel like they are a part of.
For churches, social media represents a great way to communicate with members. Beyond using social media for raising awareness of events, programs, and projects, it allows church to become more than a one-way conversation on Sunday morning. A church’s Facebook page provides a unique opportunity for members to engage each other, sharing parts of their lives with each other, not just with the church.
Taking the First Step
Getting started with social media can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. If you’re the sort of person who learns by reading, check out Terrace Crawford’s excellent book, Going Social: A Practical Guide on Social Media for Church Leaders. Otherwise, look at what other churches are doing for ideas.
Chad is a content writer for non-profit and Christian giving organizations.