When non-profit organizations begin thinking about adding social media to their communication, fundraising, and outreach efforts, many ask, "Why now?! Why do I need to worry about incorporating this technology today?"
Some Research and Studies reveal that even the organizations that have been using social media (and using it well) have not yet seen the greatest financial return on their investment. Sure, many of the tools are free, but the time required to create and maintain the new media can "cost" a lot. So, again, why now? The short answer: because the money will come... and the other advantages of a strong social media campaign are too great to ignore!
Online donations have been increasing exponentially since 2004. As "traditional donors" age and retire, mail-in donations will decrease. Organizations will have to target and engage younger generations that are more apt to "donate now" through an emailed solicitation, webpage, or social media site. In the not-so-distant future, the internet will supply a great deal of income for non-profits. So, prepare for this shift now! Be ready to accept donations when Gen-Xers become willing. Have that channel open and start cultivating it now.
It is easy to see the long-term benefits to social media use, but again... why now? There are advantages in the short-run; the various media act as tools for "friend-raising." Through exposure on various sites, non-profits extend their reach and increase support for their causes. The interactive nature of social media connects individuals to causes and draws them in. By commenting, re-tweeting, and digging the recent activity of their favorite non-profits, supporters take part in advancing the mission of an organization. This, in turn, raises more awareness, creates more contacts, and even increases the productivity of organizations. Contributors who post on non-profit's social media site start dialogues and produce content that can be used in other organizational publications: newsletters, e-blasts, blog posts, annual reports, etc. Comments from supporters even make "asks" easier!
After evaluating the long-term and immediate benefits of social media,
I challenge you to quit asking, "Why now?!" and exclaim, "Why not?!"