This past week, I’ve been privileged to be on a couple panels introducing nonprofit organizations to social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Linked in. While I love these tools, I was quick to express that:

  • They don’t replace all the good fundraising practices we’ve learned over the decades.
  • “Social” media is just that, social. These facilitate and require dialogue, not merely broadcasting announcements.
  • These tools take time: both to get familiar with and to keep going.

It’s been an intriguing experience. The attendees seem to get really excited about the potential of these tools. But I could see the shine fading as they remembered all the work already piling up on their desks.

I could easily see local nonprofits easily these tools off. After all, what good is it for our local homeless shelter if it garnered fans from Australia? How will they help me serve the people in my community?

Here are three reasons it might still be worth your while, even if your mission and donor base are very localized:

  1. People have a tendency to equate large social media numbers with credibility.

    Though incredibly inaccurate, most people still think bigger is better. So building up a large base of Twitter followers or Facebook fans may make your nonprofit may seem even more credible in the eyes of your local donors.

  2. We live in a highly mobile society.

    Here in Maine, we sometimes seem obsessed with the number of people moving away, especially young people. But often, people that move away, hold their old community near to their heart. And, in the case of Maine, people that move out of state probably have more disposable income to donate to causes they favor. Social media tools can help you cultivate new donors without expanding your travel budget.

  3. Most importantly: people in your community are already on these tools!

    So what if people in Timbuktu are joining your fan page? Your board members are already on Facebook. And the lady you’ve been trying to get interested in your cause, the one that owns the business on the corner of Wabash & Lake is on Twitter. Why wouldn’t you seek people out where they already are?

Twitter, Facebook, Qik, and all the other websites with funky names aren’t the “silver bullet” to fix all your fundraising woes. But they are great tools helping us do what we’re supposed to be doing any way: building relationships!

If you’re haven’t chosen a social media tool for your nonprofit, why not pick one today? If you choose Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, let me know. I’m at:
http://twitter.com/marcapitman
http://facebook.com/marcapitman
http://linkedin.com/in/marcapitman

And the FB fan pages are at
http://www.facebook.com/AskWithoutFear
http://www.facebook.com/FundraisingCoach.com

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