Social Media for Nonprofits: What to Aim For

“An archer cannot hit the bullseye if he doesn’t know where the target is.”
– Anonymous

It’s clear that social media helps nonprofits build relationships with a wealth of different individuals and organizations—donors, existing volunteers, potential new clients, and many more vital connections—but how can nonprofits best focus their social media efforts? ESC consultant Mike Byrnes argues that while all online communication is valuable, some strategies have more impact than others. Aim for the bullseye in nonprofit social media use: influencing more actions by donors, event attendees, and other individuals and organizations who fuel your organization’s efforts.

The outer edge of influence: Elevated Awareness
Make your organization known with regular social media posts, encouragement of engagement on all platforms, and shareable content that carries potential for organic visibility online.

Getting Warmer: More online interactions
Once engagement is a regular part of your organization’s online presence, your nonprofit’s potential for impactful interaction with social media connections is becoming more likely. Keep fostering regular engagement with followers by responding to comments on Facebook, retweeting relevant content on Twitter and participating in meaningful conversations on LinkedIn.

Heating up: Higher Search Engine Rankings
As your organization increases its conversations and overall influence online, effective SEO strategies should produce higher search engine rankings. If your nonprofit isn’t creeping up the rankings on Google through social media use alone, consider starting a blog where keywords and relevant links can be incorporated and/or evaluating the SEO strength of your NPO’s website.’

You’re doing it right: Increased web traffic
Increased web traffic on your nonprofit’s website is the most exciting and definite signal that your social media efforts are working. No other form of marketing is more closely tied to your organization’s online hub, so if you’re getting web traffic, your social media campaign has reached a milestone. This is not a time to let up! Continue social media work at the level that helped corral more web traffic, and you’ll be receiving phone calls from donor prospects and volunteer applicants in no time.

Bullseye: More actions—Donations, event attendance, etc.
Your nonprofit’s social media campaign has reached maximum impact when the organization begins to see tangible evidence of marketing success like increased gifts (through annual appeals or at the donors’ will) and event attendance. To keep tabs on exactly how much of an impact your social media efforts have had on this type of connection, be sure to ask participants if they’re connected with your organization on social media and especially if social media had an impact on their participation or donation.

If your nonprofit is interested in assistance with social media marketing, fundraising, or other aspects of nonprofit management related to social media use, please contact ESC’s Director of Consulting, Ulea Lago, at or call 617-357-5550 for information on how an ESC consulting project could take your nonprofit organization to the next level.