What's the real value for growing your NFP online community? Julie Delaforce, Senior Community Manager & Strategist at Quiip, explains what it's all about for not-for-profit organisations.
Community is built around a shared experience or interest, this is true for both online and offline communities. Not-for-profit (NFP) and charitable organisations have strong offline communities, so it is natural that this translates to building successful online communities. But what is the REAL value of social media and online community for not-for-profit organisations? Let’s first look at the strategic objectives that have been proven to have an impact on any organisation’s bottom line, for NFPs these are:
The following are measures you can use that will show if your online community activity is succeeding:
So if these objectives work and have proven impact on your organisation’s bottom line, why does Wirth Consulting’s 2013 The State of Social Media Use in Australian Non Profit Organisations report that while 97% have a website, only 31% have a Facebook account and just 22% have adopted Twitter? I have two responses:
1) Social media is not online community. There has been a blurring of these terms. Community (and therefore online community) is defined as:
“A specific group of people who have developed relationships around a strong common interest.” Online community is also a long-term investment, you need to invest time and money to see the rewards. The objectives stated above are applicable for online communities and may not prove true for social media, however
2) Social media can be used effectively with these same objectives in mind. Unfortunately too many organisations often fail to invest enough to succeed. It is important to set clear objectives at the outset, invest in staff and tools and create reporting to track and measure the success of your online community and social media activity – just as you would any other marketing or organisational endeavours.
Where offline community exists, online community can be more than just complementary; it can help you to support your clients and raise much-needed funds to continue to offer support to your community. Quiip can help to build and grow an online community to support your organisation.
Guest author, Julie Delaforce is the Senior Community Manager & Strategist at Quiip - Australia's leading online community specialists.
Quiip is the sponsor for the Digital Media Stream at the Connecting Up Conference 2014 (#14CU). To find out more about the Digital Media Stream, visit the #14CU conference program page.