I have found that one of the biggest challenges in implementing real social media solutions, and putting an action into plan is that most nonprofits do not make it a priority. Simply put, it is not a priority. What is prioritized is clinging to outdated systems, because “this is the way we have always done things.”
I have witnessed the ennui in many a nonprofit office during the recession. And you know what I have seen in every office? A fax with a dedicated line, a fax.
What does a fax have to do with the lack of funding in nonprofits? A lot, especially when tools like faxzero.com and efax.com exist. Having a fax in your nonprofit office is a symbol that rather than embrace cheaper, innovative solutions, to basic administrative needs; you will spend less on developing programming and services to the constituencies that you serve.
To have a solid social media plan, the organization needs to do two things. Have a healthy appetite for risk, and prioritize innovation at all levels of the organization. I mention risk, because the field of social media is growing in the ways in which it can serve organizations. Today we think of social media as the way to broadcast to constituencies. Tomorrow social media may handle communication from every level of the organization. In the future, your organization could be the starting point of public schools (internationally) as they search for curriculum to deliver to students about the roots of jazz (Jazz at Lincoln Center), the importance of environmental policy (Greenpeace), or the basics of female reproductive health (OurBodiesOurselves.org).
Facebook was famously developed by the slogan, “move fast and break things.” I think we can all agree that this is the very antitheses of how many nonprofits are run. Yes, projects should be reviewed by committee and managed appropriately, but if the development of a social media plan takes more than a year, management has failed.
The skeptics will tell you, “but our community is lower income.” I reply that your mission to feed online media with information is even more important.
The skeptics will tell you, “we don’t have enough money.” Point to the fax. Eliminating the fax and other outdated, overfunded money pits, made abundant by sheer administrative laziness, will save both money and time.
Embrace the future. Nonprofits are now on a level playing field with mainstream media as far as being able to get out a message. The opportunities are endless, if you believe in your mission and prioritize accomplishment.