I asked a nonprofit leader about what he got out of his street rallies he organised off and on. “Nothing substantial.” he said. He invites the local media, but they prefer to receive a note with photos, which may or may not result in a photo with a caption in one of the supplement papers. “There isn’t any noticeable value derived out of such coverage,” he added.
The rallies help with raising awareness within the local community, connect with police and key authorities. “It’s a reminder of sorts, that we exist. It’s not absolutely redundant if done more effectively. For that we need more funds” he added.
Like this nonprofit, there are many other smaller nonprofits who are shying away from Social Media and still focused on traditional methods to raise awareness. Seasoned nonprofit professionals are still doubtful of investing in social media. Communication is in the heart of what nonprofits do, yet social media is misunderstand by a great number of nonprofits as another tool.
Social Media is a boon for those who are willing to invest their time. Small sized nonprofits can choose to spend money depending on the need.
According to the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report, 93% of NGOs worldwide use Facebook, 57% use YouTube, 56% use LinkedIn, and 50% use Instagram.
I’d like to share three reasons why it is necessary for nonprofits to use social media to their benefit. These three reasons are purely in context of their need to be on a social media platform (e.g. Facebook).
DO YOU EXIST?
There are more than 7,50,000 nonprofits on Facebook, and more than 150 million are connected to a cause on Facebook. These nonprofits have realised that to grow and adapt to changes they need to get onboard with changing technologies. Their presence on social media makes it easier for the audience to locate them and monitor their work.
Be searchable, or discoverable on Google or Facebook or LinkedIn. Donors and Volunteers need to know the nonprofit exists to invest their money and time. Out of sight is out of mind in an increasingly busy world.
With the 2% mandate in India, Corporates are on the lookout for nonprofits to partner with, and opportunities for employees to volunteer.
A website should be enough? No, a website contains information the nonprofits believe is necessary for the audience. Whereas, a social media platform helps the audience to ask questions which may not be present on the site. Without having to call, or meet, in the first instance.
BREAK THROUGH THE CLUTTER
There are multiple nonprofits today working on similar causes. Everyone learns when nonprofits highlight their unique approach to solving real world issues. It also gives options to funders and partners to invest as per their area of focus.
With growing clutter online, being different using basic branding methods enables the larger community to identify the nonprofit. 95% NGOs worldwide agree that social media is effective for brand awareness.
A consistent and planned use of any social media platform will help the larger audience take notice of the nonprofit.
OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE ONLINE
Facebook has 1.94 billion plus members across the world. India has the highest number of Facebook users, around 300 million.
Nonprofits need all the attention they can get, and social platforms like Facebook provide a huge opportunity to engage and win hearts. An emotional decision needs to be responded to quickly in this day and age, before interests fade.
Donors and Volunteers increasingly prefer to check out nonprofits social media channels before making a decision and reaching out. 71% NGOs worldwide find online fundraising to be a successful medium, according to the report.
By the way, NGOs were among the first to have used social media networks to their advantage, much before government and corporations. About time smaller nonprofits in India pick up on their social media presence and networking. It’s a win-win for all.