Becoming a Social Media Savvy Foundation

Gone are the days of social media being reserved for Millennials. With 1.32 billion daily active users, Facebook has become the world’s third most-populous nation, and there’s no stopping there. It’s projected that by 2021 over 3 billion will be using social media in their daily lives to consume digital media, share content, and connect with others across the globe.

Nonprofits have adapted well to adopting social media, with 92% worldwide owning a Facebook page. However, in this rapidly evolving digital-era where 62% get their news from social media, it’s now expected that organizations own and maintain a social presence. So the question becomes: are your foundation’s social media efforts keeping up with the times? If not, where does one start?

Look to nonprofits for some inspiration

From Feeding America to the American Red Cross, cause-based nonprofits and charities have embraced the power of social media and leveraged the medium to drive awareness, engage donors, positively impact lives – and most importantly – remain relevant.

One of the best examples is 2014’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. What began as a Facebook video plea from Pete Frates, a 29-year old baseball star with ALS, quickly went viral after challengers nominated others in their social media networks to participate.

The result? The ALS Association raised over $114 million in six weeks, which has funded research leading to first FDA-approved drug treating ALS in 22 years. ALS sufferers would’ve had to wait another 5-6 years if it weren’t for the social media movement.

Curate the impact of your grantmaking

Go beyond dull operational announcements. Savvy foundations use social media to share and celebrate the impactful work of their grantees. This straightforward tactic validates your investments, broadens the online reach of both organizations, and helps deepen grantee relationships. You’re not helping your grantees out by keeping the results of their hard work in post-grant reports.

Socializing your most successful grants, in particular, may result in stronger proposals from current grantees, or new applications from organizations unaware of your foundation’s funding priorities. Your foundation may be missing out on one of the easiest, uplifting pieces of content that speaks to your impact.

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Socialize your mission for greater impact

Producing candid social content can go a long way to humanizing the innate fabric of your foundation’s mission, and beyond that, what fuels it. When used correctly, social media is a strategic tool to strengthen your foundation’s brand and communicate its unique purpose in the world. It’s also a critical tool if you’re aiming to engage Millennials, the next generation of digital-savvy philanthropists and change makers who already outnumber Baby Boomers.

The time to be social media savvy is now

Along with SmartSimple, I’ve developed a must-have guide outlining essential tips for enhancing your foundation’s social media presence. Download Becoming a Social Media Savvy Grantmaker to jump start your online branding efforts, reach new audiences, and amplify your impact story.

Colton Strawser

Colton is the President of Colton Strawser Consulting, a full-service consulting firm empowering nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other groups seeking to change the world. You can find him online at www.coltonstrawser.com or on Twitter @Colton_Strawser.