It’s easy to think that because of the great work your nonprofit does, everybody knows about you. Everyone can recite your mission statement by heart (even if most of your staff can’t). Just say the name of your organization and everyone sings your praises.

Ummmmm no.

That might be true of your cheerleaders, the people who are always telling others about you and advocating for people to give their money and time to your organization. But in general, it’s best not to assume because… well, you know why.

So how DO people find out about you and learn more about your work, programs, impact and activities?

You’re A Brand. Just Like Coke

According to a new study, 74% of consumers say they’re likely to reach out to a brand on social media during the upcoming holiday season. They’re looking for information, asking questions and most importantly, they wanna hear from the brand.

This could be done via private message or by replying to a tweet, post or Story. People have inquiries and they expect brands to be there to answer them.

I bring this to your attention because your nonprofit is a brand. And yes, people may have heard about you and they have questions. They want to know more.

Your job? Be present.

Think about what would happen if you were considering buying a new pair of shoes but you’re not sure which brand to go with. You have a few choices:

  • Ask family and friends in your network for recommendations.
  • Message each brand with your questions and see which one gives you the answers you need to make a purchase.
  • Read online reviews.

When it comes to donations, YOUR POTENTIAL DONORS ARE THE SAME AS POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS. They’re going to check you out. They’ll have questions. They’ll want recommendations.

Which means if you have a presence on any social media platform, you better have someone in charge of listening. This way, if someone tags you or replies/comments on a post, you’re there to respond.

Because if not, people will go elsewhere. They have choices when it comes who to donate their hard earned money to. You do great work but so do many other organizations in your community.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Will You Answer The Call?

Social media plays a very significant role in people finding you and considering sending a donation your way.

How will they discover you? Look at the three top ways consumers find out about products:

  • Family/friend recommendations on social media (60%)
  • Face-to-face/direct recommendations from family/friends (57%)
  • Brands’ social media accounts (55%)

When it comes to donations, very often people will reach out to their network and ask what organizations they recommend donating to. We trust friends and family to give us good feedback and answers.

At the same time, people will be looking for you on social media. They’re gonna want to learn more before giving. If you aren’t paying attention on social to people tagging you and/or replying to your posts, you’re missing out on numerous opportunities to connect with potential donors.

As we head into the busiest time of the fundraising year, I have two suggestions for you:

  • Social proof: Start showcasing your donors, volunteers, staff and Board members on social media. Not just pictures and posts but on video as well. Let them explain why they donate to your organization and about the impact you’re having in the community. Two things will happen:
    1. People see the people you’re featuring on social and go “Hey! I know her. If she’s a donor to that organization, that means she’s vetted them and they do good work. I’ll now seriously consider donating to them.”
    2. The people you feature on social will share your posts with their network and bring new eyeballs to your social media presence, your work and your mission.
  • Be present: Just posting (or scheduling posts) to social media isn’t enough. You have to be present and take part in the conversations!
    1. If people tag you, quickly thank them and reply.
    2. If people comment on your post, make sure to be there quickly to engage them in conversation.

I know you’re very busy this time of year. But please remember:

It’s called social media for a reason. It’s meant to be social.

Just like consumers, potential donors are going to make inquiries, ask questions, wonder how to get involved and more. Social media is the number one place they’ll do that. Please make sure to answer their call.

You never know who’s gonna be calling.