Tomorrow I have a meeting with a local non-profit. I volunteer as their internet marketing consultant and also serve on the board of directors. Tomorrow's meeting has one purpose,
Creating a plan for Facebook and Twitter that we can be happy with for our purposes of raising money and awareness."
So I've been brainstorming different ideas that can help them out. I realized most of the same principles that we apply as bloggers can help promote non-profit organizations. I've come up with a list of ideas to present to them for reaching their goals, but I want your ideas too!
I am currently redesigning the website for the Reno Problem Gambling Center due to a recent malware infection (don't worry, it's clean now. Just haven't had Google inspect it yet). Soon the server will be wiped clean and I'll start over from scratch. With the site's redesign will come a revamped social media strategy that aims to meet the organization's goals above. Unfortunately, as this is a volunteer job, it often gets pushed to the end of the to-do list! Maybe with your help I can finally get it done!
The RPGC is a local non-profit that offers counseling and addiction recovery services to those affected by problem gambling and their families. They offer their services regardless of anyone's ability to pay. If you've ever been to Nevada, you'll know that problem gambling is one of the main issues our state faces (besides the highest unemployment rate, foreclosure rate and teen pregnancy rate among other bad lists). These guys run a small operation that truly helps people get their lives back. They serve the entire northern half of the state. It's run by Denise Quirk and it's vital for our communities that they stay operational.
A challenge faced by the RPGC is that they lack the power-house fundraising abilities of the national non-profits like the Red Cross or the Humane Society. Funds to the RPGC are also highly localized to this region. Each year it's like pulling teeth to get governmental support and outside donors don't always see the value of helping out organizations that don't directly affect their neighborhoods. So to keep the RPGC on course and successful we need to market to a global audience.
Regular fundraising efforts each year include an annual charity auction and Luau dinner which has been highly successful and a yearly garage sale from items donated by the community. While these have helped the organization fill in the gaps left by State funding, it would be nice to give them a bit of breathing room. That's what I would like your help with.
The Social Media for Non-Profits Strategy
I've written on useful resources for non-profits before on this blog. That article didn't mention much about advanced traffic generating options. Currently, the RPGC is on Facebook with a measly 60 fans and Twitter with 27 followers. Both of the goals we have for our social media campaigns start with increasing traffic and end with receiving donations. The catch is that while many principles apply to "blogger" types of organizations and non-profits alike, it's just different enough to be a little tricky. So without further ado, here are my ideas for both generating traffic to their social media pages and starting to make a bit more money. I want to know your feedback and any other ideas you might have!
- Have them create something of value to offer in exchange for social media shares or e-mail opt-ins. This is standard procedure in the blogosphere, but they don't offer a physical product. It's a building full of licensed therapists though, so I'm hoping they've got the brains to come up with something!
- Make sure they're promoting a Facebook and Twitter page on all their offline marketing materials
- Make sure they all have links in their e-mail signatures to their Facebook, Twitter and web page
- Start a blog (duh!). This would be a highly specialized blog (both pros and cons to that) but it could branch out with more general therapy posts. It would give them more Google juice and if I could find them good guest posting opportunities, increase their traffic a great deal.
- Perhaps they can start a regular addiction recovery podcast
- Start using location-based check-in services like Foursquare and Gowalla for greater social media reach (although that might compromise that whole 'confidentiality' issue)
- Put together an Amazon.com affiliate bookstore with recommended self-help products
- Put together a premium digital product they can sell (I was thinking something with general appeal, like "How to Get Up When You're Down")
- They could join (or form) a nationwide organization for problem gambling centers. There are already national advocates, but maybe something different like a content sharing network of some kind to promote each other from an internet marketing perspective
- Create an online continuity program offering continued services or motivational messages to those who have already completed their therapy and need the occasional boost. Might be a good way to get an extra $5 per month.
- A continuity program for donors for small automatic monthly donations and maybe…
- Offer small reward packages for monthly donation subscribers as an incentive (local hero plaques, discount to our fundraising luau, etc.)
- Create a "Fundraising" page that could showcase multiple ways to donate
- Adsense ads (as a last resort as I feel they seriously lower your credible image, especially for a professional service as this) unless….
- We break Google's Terms of Service by encouraging clicks on our Adsense ads offline…'cause how would Google know? :) J/k Google….
- Invest in a larger e-mail list. The RPGC belongs to the United Way and might be able to leverage their marketing power a bit more
- Create a paid problem gambling recovery social network to act as a supplemental support group and a delivery mechanism for messages from the directors
- Fundraise with actual products like those kids in Little League. Modify it a bit and have a "Featured Fundraising Product of the Month" or something
- Have monthly "spread the word" contests where the person who gets the most fans or followers gets a prize
And those are my suggestions for now!
Now I Want Your Feedback
Many of you are internet marketing professionals and may have even worked with non-profits before. What has worked for you in the past? I would love your continued feedback on my ideas and any new ones you might have! So as I sign off, I'll leave you with these prompts…
How do you think the RPGC can increase its social media reach?
How do you think the RPGC can improve its fundraising results?
What tips do you have for non-profit organizations in general?
Thanks for reading!
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