Nonprofits are using more digital means to reach out to the general public, but do they benefit from this outreach?
Recently, technology has facilitated easier online and text donations. Even virtual reality has been used to give donors a way to have more first-hand experience with a cause. Many articles can be found that summarize the identifiable trends for nonprofit organizations utilizing social media to reach potential donors and current supporters.
To adjust for these trends, fundraisers must be aware of the challenges that technology brings and be able to navigate around them.
“The Digital Divide”
Amy Sample Ward warns that some Americans do not use the internet at home or do not have internet access at all. She encourages groups to examine the “Digital Divide” between generations and between demographics. When bridging this gap, entire communities can unite for a cause and become involved in their activities.
Nonprofit organizations can easily get retweets, likes, and use of their hashtags on social media, but support sometimes stops there. Recent years have shown many examples of people becoming aware of causes, spreading the word of them, but not moving toward any action. These groups are already clearly interested in the mission of the organization or support their movement, but the challenge becomes showing them the value in actually joining in.
Make it Personal
A way to make social media more than just a way to talk about causes is to make it more personal. Kevin Scaly, director of digital marketing for Smile Train, claims that individual interactions between and organization’s social media outlets and its followers can do wonders for its reputation. He thinks that by liking posts, responding to tweets, and sending personalized messages to followers, nonprofits are making a more special connection with their supporters. Engaging with them and putting more effort forth motivates interested and concerned people to join the movement.
Back to Basics
Interestingly enough, despite all of the social media and campaign strategists asked about trends in fundraising, Miriam Kagan has a slightly different idea. She noted that “less focus has been on the right ask at the right time to the right audience” because organizations are more concerned with keeping up with new technology. She believes that returning to basic storytelling and call to action is a refreshing way to make sure that the organization is staying true to its cause. Moving forward it would be helpful for organizations to work these basic strategies back into their digital efforts in order to blend traditional, tried and true methods with an evolving, technological world.
It is important for nonprofits to realize that technology affects the lives of their donors, and therefore also affects their strategies. Social media offers a unique way to connect with the public, but could also create new barriers. By assessing audiences and making appropriate choices in social media and technology, a nonprofit will be able to uniquely position itself as accessible while still staying true to traditional donation strategies.
Norris, Sean. “80 Nonprofit Trends for 2016.” NonProfit PRO. N.p., 09 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Oct. 2016. <http://www.nonprofitpro.com/article/80-nonprofit-trends-for-2016/all/>.