Answers to the two most popular social media questions asked by non-profits

At the end of yesterday’s post titled “Are non-profits yelling at their donors using social media?” I promised that I’d share a few revelations from a social media conference that Marissa and I attended last week hosted by SkillPath Seminars. Today, we’re talking about two of the most popular social media questions that I’ve been asked by non-profit organizations:

  1. Which social media platforms should your non-profit organization use to speak to donors and supporters?
  2. How can your agency do a better job at engaging its supporters using social media and gain more traction?

Let me first say that I highly recommend this SkillPath training conference to all non-profit professionals who are responsible for managing their agency’s social media communities. You can find more information at the other end of the link that provided above. (No, I was not paid to say this)

When looking through the conference materials on this subject, they list more than 20 different platforms that companies are using to market their efforts. However, it came as no surprise that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were the top three “networking platforms;” YouTube was the most popular “promotional platform;” and various blogging platforms (e.g. WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr) were the most popular “sharing platforms”.

Our trainers suggested that a company should give serious consideration to developing a presence on all three platforms and five sites. While that might sound easy enough, it becomes more complicated when you consider that you’ll be saying different things in each of these places. You need to figure out who your target audiences are and which social media platforms are best at communicating with them.

As I sat through many of the sessions, I found myself trying to translate the training curricula into non-profit speak. Assuming that my universal translator is working well, I concluded the following:

  • Facebook looks like a great stewardship tool where you can engage donors and show your “friends” how their contribution is being put to good use.
  • Twitter and its 140 character limitations could be an awesome cultivation tool where you catch the attention of prospects and drive them to a place where they learn more about your mission.
  • LinkedIn is more than a human resource tool. It is a place to build relationships with potential corporate supporters and identify special event sponsors.
  • YouTube can be a multi-purpose resource development tool and used in many different ways. However, it might be best used for raising brand awareness and developing a pool of interested prospects who you are positioning for cultivation activities.
  • Your blog is a friendly online place to engage in conversations with supporters and potential supporters. You can establish yourself as a “thought leader,” advocate and engaged listener.
  • All of these social media tools should be used to drive traffic to your website where there is more information, volunteer forms, donation pages, etc.

Yes, this is a lot of work and at some point you’ll need to frame your agency’s strategy in a written social media plan. While it is easy to think that it might end up on the fundraising department’s plate, I think there is an opportunity for thoughtful organizations to transform their agency into a “social company” and share the workload and transform your workplace culture.

Enough on platforms.

What about building momentum? Gaining traction? Engaging more deeply?

The following are just a few of the suggestions offered by our SkillPath trainers:

  • Write content that is interesting to your reader. (If you don’t know what that is, then go ask them)
  • Host contests
  • Offer coupons
  • Make your content interactive
  • Include links to things that your audience will find interesting and useful

Perhaps, one of the best ideas I heard was that a picture is worth a thousand words. Write less and post more pictures of your mission, your programs, your volunteers, and your donors. This one simple idea that will probably result in increased traffic, more content sharing, and deeper engagement.

Is your agency using social media? How’s it going? Do you feel like it is working? Why or why not? Please scroll down and use the comment box to share your thoughts. We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Which blogging platform is right for your non-profit organization?

We all know that having a website is an important part of any social media strategy, but along with that comes having a blog. Many times these are the same thing, and the blog serves as the main content on the site. Other times, a blog is a supplemental part of a site. Either way, finding the platform that is best for you and your organization is key to blogging success.

Some questions to ask yourself before setting up your blog:

  • Who will be blogging? Will this be a solo or group project?  Different platforms allow multiple authors, which is important to keep in mind. Also, I recommend making one person in charge of editing and layout, which means that person needs to be more knowledgeable on how to make changes.
  • What type of content will you share on the blog? Will it primarily be text, photos, videos, or a combination of all three? You might find after looking at different options that one is more suited to your content.
  • Will the blog serve as your main site or will it supplement your current site? Either way, you need to choose an option that works with you current website, brand and logo.

After thinking though a few of these questions, now the actual research can start on which blog platform is best for you.


WordPress is a very popular free blogging platform that powers many of the sites you visit today – this one included. WordPress’ claim to fame is that they make it super easy to get a blog up and running and offer many plug-ins to make the site customizable.

There are two versions of WordPress — and One might work better for you based on the needs of the blog. allows you to create a free blog on WordPress’ servers. You get most of the features behind the WordPress platform without having to install it on your own server. While you never have to worry about updating software, your blog might have a domain ending in “”. It is also a social network that people use to follow and read all of the blogs to which they subscribe. is the full featured free WordPress suite hosted on your own server. It is widely popular due to its ease of use and because it is free. It is easy to use for novice web designers, and it becomes more powerful as the user develops a familiarity with plug-ins or basic html.

There are a plethora of resources out there to build your site using WordPress. A simple google search will lead you in the right direction.


If you want a super easy to build professional looking blog, look no further than Squarespace. Squarespace is not free, but in my opinion it is worth the money. Depending on the plan you choose, you will be given web space, a domain, and an easy to use interface that allows you to customize your site through the simple act of “dragging and dropping”. This provider makes it easy to build a site that doesn’t look like created by a cookie cutter template approach. They also offer the ability to edit code if needed.

Other Options

There are a few other options out there. Tumblr is a social network built around blogging. The audience at Tumblr is on the younger side, but if that’s what you are looking for, it just might be the right place for your organization to share content.

Blogger is Google’s free blogging service and has been around for a long time. It is well-known as a starting place for new bloggers.

Finally, you can always code your own site. However, if you are going to do that, I always think it is best to consult with a professional.

I hope this post got you thinking about which blogging platform is right for your organization. If you currently have a blog, I’d love to hear the pros and cons of the system you are using. Also, if you have any questions on blogging services, I’d be more than happy to answer them using the comment section below!