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Skagit Valley Hospital

Tired of All the Hype Around Social Media?

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It’s true, at every training and conference these days, there is something about harnessing the energy of social media for your organization. Chances are though, if you are reading this, you are at least dabbling in the virtual world and are perhaps looking for reasons that it may be beneficial to your respective missions.

The following are potential benefits to an organization utilizing donor-centered practices. If done well, social media:

1. Broadens the awareness of your mission and program. Utilizing networks and media tools allows you to share your story with a new group of potential supporters. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are great ways to not only highlight the issues your organization addresses, but to inspire others, relay a sense of urgency, and share easy and – most importantly – convenient ways to help. Tools for advocacy, calls to action and event calendars are plentiful.

2. Generates new ideas through online dialogue. Social media allows people to take part in the conversation. In the best case, imagine, a braintrust of online supporters engaged and interested in helping you find new solutions and opportunities for your programs.

3. Enables you to gather information on prospective donors. Social media is about individual brand identity; people are displaying what they want you to know about them and how they want to be seen. By paying attention to profiles, you can identify prospective donors, their interests, their connections and their values.

4. Increases collaboration and involvement in your organization. Media tools help to create and promote advocates for your cause. By being strategic and thoughtful in what you offer, you can make it easy for people to get involved and to give – this is key to online participation. Additionally, it offers free and easy ways to help manage meetings and volunteer engagement. Instead of calling 20 people to determine the best time for a meeting – create a poll. Instead of passing one document through four people collecting conflicting edits – utilize group editing, etc.

5. Influences giving. Notice the word “influence”, rather than “increases” or “raises funds”. What social media is not, is a cash cow. It won’t directly raise money for you, but it will give you the tools to support your ongoing fundraising efforts. The beauty of social media is that it disperses the responsibility of asking through the leverage of networks. The tried and true method of people giving to people hasn’t changed, even online. Social media allows your supporters to share their interest in your mission with others and, should they be so inclined, ask their friends to join them in supporting your organization.

What do you think? Are there additional benefits? Do you have a story of how your organization accomplished one of the top five? We would love to hear about it.

Also, be on the lookout next week for The Collins Group e-news article by Jim Hopper discussing the cautions of utilizing social media. If you’d like to be added to our eNews mailing list, feel free to email us at info@collinsgroup.com.

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