Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One BasketFebruary 2nd, 2011
Most fundraisers know not to rely on only one source of income, whether it’s grants, mail, events, etc. The same applies with social media and marketing. While Facebook is a valuable tool, it’s essential to expand your reach as much as possible.
Facebook is where many organizations ventured into social media initially, and some learned the hard way that if you don’t follow its rules, your account can be suspended or terminated for various violations, including:
• adding/inviting too many friends at once
• exporting your friends’ emails out of Facebook
• exceeding the 500 “limit” on the number of fans (groups – prior to pages)
• creating duplicate accounts (many people made a “personal” and a separate “business” account)
Policies have existed that stopped service for other fundraising or marketing efforts as well. Some have been temporary, such as when Verizon made a unilateral decision to block text messages sent by a single nonprofit that they deemed “controversial or unsavory,” despite the fact that they were being sent to constituents who had subscribed to receive them. This represented a significant market share of recipients who were blocked, but enough voices protested that Verizon soon reversed their decision.
Other decisions are not so temporary, such as the Girl Scouts’ continuing refusal to allow girls to sell cookies online, which leaves a large part of the market out of reach, despite protests to the contrary. In cases like this, it’s all the more important that an organization diversify to compensate.
A more recent decision announced about Delicious deciding to end operations of its site was met with a swift and immediate reaction by its many users, to the point of starting a petition in an attempt to buy it from Yahoo so that it could continue operating.
Further information was later revealed – although Yahoo took days to respond – that Delicious will continue to exist, and Yahoo appears to be seeking a buyer. This prompted discussion on the Chronicle of Philanthropy about how to compensate for Delicious and other social media tools that might disappear one day.
It is essential to have a backup plan for each one of your tools and applications, just as you would for your staff if a member of your team was out on vacation or sick.
For example, your social media manager no doubt schedules your posts to your Facebook page(s), Twitter account(s) and other channels via a dashboard, such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck or some other platform, as well as using a preferred URL shortener like bit.ly or ow.ly.
Although your staff has become accustomed to whichever you are currently using, what if service were down on that application/platform? If your organization had an account with at least one other company already in place, then your service to your constituents would be more likely to go uninterrupted. (Some of these companies recently altered terms for what types of service they would provide for free vs. what would now cost a monthly or annual fee, so many organizations had to alter or expand their accounts anyway.)
Another unexpected change to your marketing plan could be that you might even find part of your logo, slogan or color challenged and have to alter or remove it – at least for a while, as you fight it out in court.
It’s important to remember that all of your social media and marketing efforts should be viewed as supplemental to your organization’s website, and all roads should lead back here, where you have ultimate control over your message. Driving traffic home should be your overall goal with online endeavors.
As you make plans and navigate your 2011marketing, social media and fundraising campaigns, track them the best that you can, in order to measure your areas of difficulty as well as your successes. You also want to understand which channels are getting the best response rates, and much more.
Analytics don’t have to be as difficult as they might seem, and when done correctly, they will help you to modify your website and overall strategy so that they are working for you, instead of the other way around.
Keep the base of the pyramid strong
Tags: Allison Fine, Ami Neiberger-Miller, analytics, annual giving, bit.ly, campaign, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Close to Home, Delicious, direct mail, Facebook, fund raising, fundraising, Getting Attention, Girl Scout Cookies, Girl Scouts, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Komen, marketing, Nancy Schwartz, NARAL Pro-Choice America, non profit, non profits, nonprofit, Nonprofit PR Tips, nonprofits, ow.ly, social media, social networking, Speed Bump, strategy, Susan Komen, Tweetdeck, Twitter, Verizon, Washington Post