Over the past decade, there has been a rise in the use of social media by non-profit organizations, and it’s not hard to see why. Social media platforms provide a larger audience, with a smaller budget in mind, allowing non-profits the opportunity to share their story and generate a following, unlike other formats. The problem with social media in regards to non-profit organizations is…Not all non-profit board members are on board! It’s time to use the resources at hand, and social media is the BIGGEST opportunity to make any non-profit flourish.
According to non-profit executive Carolyn Newton, board members should add the title “online ambassador” to the job description… if they want their non-profit to be successful. Being on a board for a non-profit requires that members serve as ambassadors and endorsers of the non-profit. Online presence provides a larger audience, giving more attention to the cause. The Make-a-Wish Foundation uses their social media outlets successfully by sharing all of their video wishes through their YouTube channel. They also utilize their Facebook and Twitter pages, allowing their followers to interact with them, and see their cause at work. Viewers are able to maintain an emotional and personal connection when they see positive experiences shared online.
A good question to ask is how can I get my board, on board? The first suggestion made by Caroline Avakian in her article “Getting Your Board on Board”, is to start small and ask questions. Find out what social media outlets board members are currently using and utilize those resources first! Keeping track of website hits or increases in Facebook followings in specific readings may assist in showing board members an adequate response to social media resources. Saying there is an increase in followings, compared to saying there is a 50% increase in followings, the latter provides a tangible response to board members. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites can provide an open door to donors and other influential outlets, which is a good reason why your board’s social media strategy should be a shared endeavor.
Social media provides a way for board members and staff to connect and communicate. It also allows members to share updates about their organization. Some great resources are Google Alerts and TweetBeep; they provide notifications when the non-profit is mentioned online, giving board members an opportunity to see first-hand that their organization is being discussed online, even if they’re not currently using the social media application.
Don’t make assumptions about board members. Teenagers aren’t the only ones using the internet these days; the mom and pops generation are now sharing their favorite posts, and re-tweeting politicians. In fact, many board members are on Facebook and LinkedIn. Some media sites even offer tips for board members in order for them to efficiently display their cause. Encourage members to use these tips to further the impact that their page or profile can make.
When bringing up the subject at the next board meeting just remember to address the topic with confidence, and bring to light the advantages of a social media platform. During future board meetings, tie back successes to social media use and promotions. Update board members on the organization’s progress and relate it to social media usage. Send board members emails with links to the latest posting, asking them to like, comment, and share it. Asking them to give feedback on what could improve the posting can incorporate their ideas, and encourage them to take part in social media output.
Getting board members on board is an undertaking, but it may be an easier one than you think!