Top 5 Goals for Nonprofits on Social Media and Step One to Achieving Them

Eric Melin
Eric Melin Senior Social Media Community Manager, Callahan Creek

Posted on April 1st 2014

Top 5 Goals for Nonprofits on Social Media and Step One to Achieving Them

By now, most nonprofits have realized that using social media effectively can help them reach some of the primary goals of their organization.

In fact, according to a new HubSpot survey of just over 9,000 small-to-medium-sized nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada, 98% of them are already on Facebook, and 80% of them say the social network is their primary focus for social media.

Encouraging as it may be, some troubling statistics also arose from the study. According to HubSpot:

  • Most nonprofits do not have a documented social media strategy.
  • Goals are varied and diverse — about half are measuring their results.

Having a thought-out social media strategy that aligns with your goals and is measurable is key. Not only will you be able to tell if you are meeting or falling short of your goals, but you will be able to learn from measuring your social media and make changes in real-time to improve. So let’s talk about those goals, as collected and ranked by the study:

Click to enlarge.

  1. Sharing news about the organization
  2. Brand recognition
  3. Sharing news about the cause
  4. Fundraising
  5. Volunteer recruitment

These are very similar to the 6 Goals of Nonprofit Social Engagement that I identified in a post from late last year, but I think that organically building trust and relationships are something that social media is uniquely qualified to do, and shouldn’t be left out:

  1. Increase awareness
  2. Build trust
  3. Increase traffic
  4. Build relationships
  5. Drive donations
  6. Increase membership, volunteers

Before laying out an effective social media strategy to meet any of these goals, the first step of course is online listening. 44% of nonprofits say they have only one person monitoring social media. That may seem like a small number, but one person is better than zero, I suppose. Here are some tips for web and social media monitoring:

For your brand: Where are people talking about you online and what kind of language and sentiment is being used? Is your community of supporters and advocates united in any one spot or is there scattered chatter all over the web? How can you unite that conversation under your brand?

For your cause: Who’s talking about your cause? Are there partnerships to be forged among those people? Run some competitive intelligence on other charities that operate within your cause. Compare your online efforts. Where has your campaign succeeded/failed compared to theirs? What can you learn from this?

The single most disheartening statistic from the study is this one: “67% of nonprofits have no social media strategy, policies or goals documented.”

There are so many opportunities in social media for nonprofits to reach their goals. One of the challenges that sinks so many people right out of the gate is an inability to articulate how to reach those goals. That’s why having a solid listening plan in place before you formulate a strategy is essential.


Eric Melin

Eric Melin

Senior Social Media Community Manager, Callahan Creek

An award-winning marketing and communications specialist, Eric is the Senior Social Media Community Manager for specialty marketing agency Callahan Creek, the social chair for AAF-KC, and the communications chair for Engineers Without Borders - Sunflower State Professionals

He is also the 2013 Air Guitar World Champion. Callahan Creek unlocks the power of category enthusiasts and turns them into brand advocates. Air guitar provides boundless entertainment and helps musicians realize their full creative potential, according to a recent Cambridge study.

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