Nonprofit organizations are lagging in the use of social media for outreach to their constituents, according to a recent survey by software and service company Sage, covered in an article in this week’s PR News.
Almost two-thirds of respondents in the study said they don’t use any digital tools to manage social media programs. Not surprisingly, more than half of the respondents weren’t happy with their social media efforts.
Since social media marketing would seem to be made for nonprofit organizations and their communications programs, this is an unfortunate situation. But from my point of view as someone who has handled public relations for many nonprofit organizations – large and small – there is no mystery as to why this is happening.
While there are many large nonprofit organizations, there are also many more than have limited budgets and operate with a small, multi-tasking administrative staff whose work lives are stretched pretty thin. Very few charities have an in-house public relations person – let alone a communications staff.
Outsourcing these activities is the answer for these organizations, but they often opt for pro bono work by an outside agency, where necessity dictates their taking a back seat to paying clients.
To be effective, social media marketing takes strategic planning, time and dedication.
It can be a vicious circle: nonprofit organizations who don’t communicate with their publics on a regular basis miss out on fundraising opportunities, and lack of fundraising opportunities keeps them from adequately funding their communications programs.
Nonprofit organizations that eventually become financially stable have one thing in common: they have leaders who think big and look to the future. they invest in a public relations program – and in today’s world, that program includes social media.