In “Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great” Jim Collins identifies the three resources non-profits must nurture:
- donors and
- brand capital
When it comes to social media, those resources provide specific contributions.
In politics we call them bundlers. They gather contributions from many within a group and pass on to a candidate. A similar class of contributors has emerged with nonprofits. In her recent book “The Networked Nonprofit,” Beth Kanter lists 5 types of supporters (listed by engagement level): Happy Bystander, Spreaders, Donors, Evangelists, and Instigators. They are influencers who support your cause by letting their social network know of their interest (low) or constructively support your cause or mission by communicating with their followers (high).
It’s good practice to recognize and stay close to your influencers
Social media is more than a new communication channel. It is becoming a competitive necessity. New non-profits, large (Gates, Clinton, … ) and small (charity:water), have demonstrated its effectiveness to raise both their profile and donations. The challenge is to find out what works.
With non-profits, the donor trusts that the brand will deliver its promise. Break that trust, lose the donor.
Remaining relevant with your constituents requires listening and engaging on various channels to learn where the conversation is heading. Not just to address negative comments, but also to build on your reputation and trust with your influencers. Sometimes, it may require changing “the way things are done here” by pursuing opportunities (how programs are implemented, which program to pursue, where to find supporters) suggested by various constituents.
The role of the Community Manager (I like Jeremiah Owyang description of that role) is growing to match the resources Jim Collins highlights. The hardest part remains: assigning the Community Manager an appropriate role within the organization.