Do Nonprofits Need Both Social Media and Email Marketing? Part One

Nonprofits are resourceful by nature, many times doing more with less.  Each person actually working for a nonprofit organization can wear a multitude of hats, in related or non-related roles, depending on what is required and what resources are available.  It’s this philosophy that frequently finds nonprofits weighing their options in terms of digital outreach as part of their cause and organization marketing.  Saving time means saving money.  So, which tools are worth their time in online marketing, and which are not?nonprofit social media marketing

Social Media and Email Marketing:  Different Tools of Equal Importance

In Internet marketing, social media and email marketing are the two big kahunas being pursued to raise awareness and inspire engagement, champions, and drive donations.  It may be tempting to “consolidate” digital outreach into one silo of strategy, but the truth is that social media and email marketing have different purposes and capabilities, yet are complementary to each other and are not stand-alone solutions for organizations whose survival depends on effective messaging.

Social is the New Normal

Social media is more than here to stay.  It has woven its way into every part of our society, from personal relationships, business connections, advertising, PR, and fundraising.  Social’s fairly simple platforms are far from simple in terms of designing effective strategy, much of which will depend on your organization’s goals, resources, and strength of your overall message.  Social media is a noisy universe, and you will need to pick and choose which social sites make the most sense to pursue in growing your fan-base, army of advocates, committed volunteers, and generous donors.  Plus, with social bedrock sites like Facebook (with its one billion users) offering a bevy of resources for cause marketers, it’s never been a better time to hop on the social media wagon.

There’s No Beating Free

Let’s be real:  the greatest appeal of social is the fact that its free (with the exception of your time).  For any organization, especially nonprofits, this factor plus social media’s undeniable reach and influence makes it a must-have in your digital marketing plan.  When budgets are tight, investing time in a tried and true method for reaching your target demographic is well worth the effort.  Social media success lies in measurable metrics such as likes, fans, followers, and subscribers, which in turn may convert into greater results in fundraising, building your email list, and recruiting volunteers.  Social media happens in real time, so daily engagement is a must for any substantial impact.

Nonprofit Causes Are Social Causes

Social media networks, regardless of specific site, are made up of individual user profiles.  Every person typically has some charitable cause that they care about and try to raise awareness concerning it.  It could be a family touched by illness, a love for animals, a spiritual calling, or a personal experience that compels direct action.  Whatever the reason, it’s individuals that provide influence, and this is key to creating a movement that will make a difference to your organization.

Social Media and Email Marketing Go Hand in Hand

Whereas social media has the ability to broadcast, email marketing keeps things more personal.  Social can provide inbound links and a platform to share your nonprofits’ blog, events, and contests.  Emails can be a one-stop-shop for more targeted messaging, distribution of news, and the ability to share its contents from a single source.  Coordinating the two methods will reinforce the effectiveness of each.

Next up:  What About Email Marketing?