Some clarity for charities about social media

Lee kenny, CEO of Snowflake Media
Lee kenny, CEO of Snowflake Media

Not many people know this, but Calderdale has one of the highest charitable donations per capita in the UK.

I’ve been asked to host a social media workshop for charities at the Shay by North Bank Forum and it’s a topic that gets charities and volunteers in such a state that I thought I’d share some simple takeaways that can help ease the pressure around social media.

Get Clarity

Why does your charity need to be on social media? Are you looking to connect with donors? Volunteers? Or it is just general fundraising. Too many organisations just stumble blindly in to social media because “they have to”.

The challenge with a lack of clarity on who you are trying to reach means you run out of things to say pretty quickly. I know from my work with the Community Foundation for Calderdale that people who work in this sector often do the work of three or four people, so worrying about social media cannot be a priority.

It’s all about them

Spend 20 per cent talking about your charity, your latest campaigns and any fundraising. The other 80 per cent needs to be about things that are of interest to your intended audience. So if you are a creative organisation, you can share arts council updates or interesting articles from online or national press. If you are an animal charity, you may want to post tips on training or diet for animals. You can get creative if you focus on the reader rather than what message you need to promote. Where possible, ensure you get some video produced, starting with your mobile phone. Video gets at least four times the amount of visibility on Facebook.

Accentuate The Positive

Yes, we are in austere times. Your cause is a requirement not a luxury. However out of the many hundreds of charities online, very few ever take the time out to really talk about the successes. As donors and volunteers, we want to know that great things are happening with our time or money. Certainly highlight the needs you serve, but also mix in some lighter stuff too.

Be selective

You don’t need to be everywhere. Once you’ve identified the people you need to reach, select a social media network based upon their demographic. While Facebook and Twitter do certainly have a shared audience, they actually attract very different people too. Some messages may suit one network and not another.

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

Social media is about being well.... social. However if you are spending all your time writing stuff each day to post, you won’t get time to interact. Try and schedule the bulk of your messages in a blocked off period each week. Then just check in and make sure you respond to any reaction and post topical stories as they appear through the week