Things are changing in the digital realm all around us. The world is evolving from one of snail mail and newspapers to one of instant messaging and a web of constant interconnectedness. Most corporations have hopped on this trend, but now it is time for nonprofits to make the change.
When you think about it, social media is really the perfect thing for nonprofit organizations because…
- It is FREE
- It has the ability to reach a large number of people in an extremely short amount of time
- It allows stakeholders to stay up to date
- It is static and very flexible
- It allows for different perspectives to be shared about social issues or the business of an organization (Lake)
Although there are some incredible benefits to social media, nonprofits do need to keep in mind the time and dedication that it takes to have an active presence online. If you want these benefits to be seen in full, it is crucial that your organization updates their site or pages at least once a day (Grobman, 2015). This ensures viewership will increase and be held.
It can be time consuming to stay connected and difficult to think up new posts everyday, but these are tasks that a young volunteer would joyfully complete without hesitation. If you think it is too risky to allow a volunteer have control of the organization’s online image, then an employee could take over this task or a new position could be created (Grobman, 2015). This is just a small price to pay for an investment that will surely be returned.
Social media has enabled nonprofits to shine a light on issues that might otherwise be overlooked, mobilize supporters, and communicate through dialogue with a large amount of people, all for little to no cost (Briones, 2011). With this dynamic new resource, nonprofits have become more influential and successful than ever before.
A famous example of a nonprofit that utilized social media for its benefit is the ALS Association. In case you haven’t heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge (you may live under a rock), it was a fundraiser done by the ALS Association on social media in which essentially someone would get nominated to pour a bucket of ice water on themselves and then in turn nominate a minimum of three other people to participate. You had 24 hours to film yourself doing the challenge and post it to social media or forfeit by way of donation (“Ice Bucket Challenge”, 2014). For your entertainment, below I have added a video montage of some people who gave a valiant effort, but just could not succeed at this challenge.
The challenge went viral and earned the ALS Association $115 million in a matter of weeks, along with household recognition (“Ice Bucket Challenge”, 2014)! This goes to show that if nonprofits take advantage of the potential that social media offers, they can truly change the world.