Non-profits and social media: how to leave the competition behind

I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for and in that respect I find little encouragement in the “2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Report“. According to the report, non-profits and NGOs are still very reluctant to allocate resources to their social media activities. However, this is also a chance for those who are willing to make the investment.

If you haven’t done so yet, please take a look at this infographic which sums up the key findings of the report nicely.

Time is more valuable than money

It is good to see that around 45 per cent of NGOs say that they have a budget for social media. However, money is not the main resource you need to build a successful social media presence – it is time: time to listen to your followers and to engage them.

Full-time employees working on social media (Source: 2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report)

Full-time employees working on social media (Source: 2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report)

Unfortunately 67 per cent of all respondents said that they only have one quarter or less of an employees dedicated to social media. To me that sounds like someone simply added “social media” to the job description of a person in the communications or marketing department and decided that that was enough. Well, it is not.

Their reluctance is your chance

The good news is, that this also means that it is comparatively easy to zip past the competition.

Think about it: by dedicating a single full time staff member (and no, I’m not talking about interns) to social media, you have more resources at your disposal than 80 per cent of all non-profits! Considering that the report also says that each Facebook follower can be valued at around 214 USD, this should be a no-brainer.

Granted, small non-profits might not need someone to work eight hours per day on Facebook and Twitter; maybe someone who works 50 per cent really is enough for them. However, even then I would argue for a dedicated social media person, rather than someone who has this as part of their portfolio – and anything less than 50 per cent is simply not serious.

What is your opinion? What is the minimum number of resources a non-profit should invest in social media?