Emerging media platforms create so many opportunities for easy and efficient communication. Many business and organizations already use emerging media, and take advantage of all it offers them. It is even necessary to achieve success in a lot of ways, considering the average internet user spends about 106 minutes using social media each day and teens use about 9 hours of media in general a day. It is important for business and organizations to stay relevant by capitalizing on the vast amount of use.
Consider this information below from the Pew Research Center:
Nonprofit organizations can take advantage of emerging media to spread awareness of their message, and to generate donations. Many nonprofits generally do not have a large budget for marketing, so emerging media can be a great affordable tool for them.
Nonprofit organizations traditionally utilized marketing methods such as radio, news, and television advertising. Additionally, the primary donor appeals would be sent out through mail. The traditional methods are still useful in a lot of ways, but there are more opportunities for growth.
Here are five benefits nonprofits can glean from using emerging media:
Closer donor relations. Donors from all generations use emerging media. Even though more mature donors may not value it as much, there are still opportunities to reach them through emerging media. You can see in the graph above that over 30% of people 65 and older and 50% of people ages 50-65 use social media. Furthermore, donors that feel connected to the organization will continue to donate. By using emerging media the nonprofit organization can not only stay fresh in the donor’s mind, but can also take opportunities to show appreciation by thanking donors over social media and even calling out individuals that went above and beyond.
- Feeding America periodically posts donor and volunteer spotlights to show their donors and volunteers appreciation, but to also inspire people to support the mission.
- Here are some ways you can thank donors with emerging media.
Establish new donor relationships. Emerging media can also be utilized to establish new donor relationships. If the nonprofit uses emerging media to authentically share their story, and successfully reflect the mission, new followers may feel compelled to join in on the cause. For example, by sharing success stories or clearly demonstrating the need for the organization followers could become interested in supporting the organization.
- The Malala Fund uses personal stories to inspire change. They frequently post real women across the globe that are fighting for their right to be educated.
Increase one-time donations. Another benefit of using emerging media is to increase one-time donations by establishing an immediate need, selling merchandise, or sharing a wish list if the organization collects items as well as money. Followers that may not be interested in joining the team as a long-term partner, may be interested in buying a shirt or even helping by donating to an immediate need.
- Kitten Lady, a neonatal kitten rescue organization, utilizes Instagram to sell merchandise that supports the organization. Additionally, if one of the kittens is very sick there will be a one-time request to support that specific kitten. Orphan Annie was given a second chance at life due to this strategy.
Spreading awareness/educating about the cause. Awareness is another reason it is important to utilize social media. Brand awareness is built after the target is exposed multiple times. Having a social media account that is active will allow followers to be exposed to the organization in addition to gaining a better sense of what the nonprofit does.
- The ALS Association created a lot of buzz when they launched the ALS ice bucket challenge. Before the ice bucket challenge the ALS Association website was only receiving about 8,000 visits per day, during the ice bucket challenge the website was receiving around 630,000 visits per day. This is an extreme case since the ice bucket challenge went viral, but there are opportunities for local nonprofits to reach their communities by engaging with them through emerging media platforms.
Build community around the cause. Emerging media can be used to help build a community around a cause by encouraging interactions. If donors feel connected it can secure retention, and if potential donors feel connected they may decide to become committed donors.
- The END IT Movement is a coalition of organizations that are fighting to end slavery. The movement has created a community of followers that participate by drawing red Xs on their hands and sharing photos to various social media platforms. Not only does The END IT Movement raise awareness for the organization, but they also allow their followers an opportunity to interact and to feel like they are contributing.
Emerging media is an asset to nonprofit organization, and could make a big difference in donations, donor relationships, and spreading awareness about the cause. What do you think of these five benefits? How else can emerging media help nonprofit organizations flourish?