Why nonprofits need to leap into Social Media, and they need to do it now!

I wrote this blog post, below, a while back to share my opinion on why nonprofits need to be leveraging social media at least a little bit.Every organization has different objectives, priorities and resources available but it’s becoming more and more apparent that organizations cannot afford to ignore social media .  And just this week  the Pew Internet (Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project) presented slides  “The New Environment for Advocates & NGOs” And the Nonprofit Quarterly did a nice job summarizing the information.  It looks like we can’t ignore the data anymore and need to leverage social media.

Written for those of us who haven’t started leveraging social media, yet!

By Kurt Steiner, founder of CharityHowTo.com

Let’s face it, some of us haven’t really delved deeply into social media. Some of us reading this post can actually recall when our communication was  mostly in person, via telephone, or  letters. Things are different and changing rapidly.

There is a global transformation of communication taking place, is your nonprofit participating?  A few facts, the world’s global population is 6. 7 billion people, there are currently 900 Million Facebook users. Some percentage of the world’s population is either too young or too old to participate, and some percentage don’t have access to  technology (unfortunately).  So 1 billion Facebook users  is not an  indication that Facebook is  emerging,  it already  has emerged, and it’s growing rapidly.  And not only does it highlight Facebook’s phenomenal growth, but it represents a fundamental shift in human behavior through social networks, not just Facebook. Sometimes, some of us forget that as we continue to grow older, more and more young people enter the global social network and they expect to connect and communicate via social media, it’s a normal part of life experience, not a new trend.
Okay so were all familiar with Google,  and  we use Google, or some other search engine, and we  are comfortable with how it works, it’s a natural part of our human behavior. However, we may not be aware of a fundamental shift in online human behavior taking place now. Facebook is now getting more activity (time spent on Facebook, searches, page views) than Google. People are taking recommendations about causes, products, and anything and everything from their friends or their network of friends, rather than a Google search result.  Furthermore, only 6% of consumers say they believe a marketer’s claim.  Conversely, 90% of consumers trust recommendations from acquaintances. Young adults are emerging on the world’s networked platform and are engaging in life, sharing, community, purchasing things, and yes…philanthropy.

So we agree that a fundamental behavior shift has already taken place. But is it moving  beyond friends and family communicating, into action, activism, and donations? Lately, I’ve been watching major broadcast news coverage about social media and the conversation is shifting from how people use social media individually to how businesses and organizations are leveraging social media to their benefit.  I’ve even heard  strong statements suggesting that if a brand, business, or organization dose not actively participate in social media activities they will fail.  Perhaps the previous, statement is inflated, or perhaps not. Regardless, organizations and businesses are seeing trackable results by leveraging technology and social media. And for those organizations who have not delved  in to social media, they need to do it, and now! And if you don’t feel like leaping into the ocean of social media, at least dip your toe in the water.