As Warren Bennis said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” As Chief Executive Officer of your nonprofit, that is exactly what you do. You channel your non-profit’s passion into something good, and you work tirelessly to make sure it does so to the best of its abilities. Leading a non-profit is no easy task, and to many CEOs, social media is not at the top of the list of priorities, but it can be a great tool to leverage for the success of you organization.
With all the work we already have on our plate, you may be asking, why add social media to the list? I understand that your time is no doubt precious, having a personal presence on social media can be a great service to you and your non-profit. Here’s how:
It gives your community a name and a face to associate with your organization.
Communities rely on nonprofit organizations. You provide people with the programs, resources, and help to make lives better. As such, building relationships with the communities you serve is paramount to your nonprofit’s success. People want to hear from you and want to get to know who you are. With a strong personal presence on social media, you are giving people a name and face to your organization and emphasize that you are personally passionate about your cause.
During my first few months in Lakeland I used social media to share my many meetings and events, as well as pictures of my family and our trips… and still continue to do so to this day. This gave my new community, as well as my board members, staff and partner agencies a window into my world. It allowed them to get to know me, my work ethic, my interests and my family. This insight into who I am, humanizes me and makes me and my organization more approachable.
It helps you be an advocate.
With 2.3 billion active social media users, there is a personal element between people on social media now more than ever, so take advantage of that! You can use your voice on a platform that more and more people are turning to communicate and get their news. Become your organization’s greatest advocate, and inspire people to strive for more.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram give you the perfect opportunity to inspire. Show your employees that you appreciate their hard work by applauding their efforts, reach out to the communities you serve and let them know that they have your undivided attention, share with possible donors what they can invest in or raise awareness about topics you personally feel are important. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, but social media is an easy and effective way to inspire.
I am constantly sharing stories and pictures of local corporate partners and nonprofit partners of the United Way. It is great way to say thank you and to share success stories. By having the CEO extend a thanks on his/her personal accounts, it becomes personal, not just business to business.
Although, CEOs can share and retweet their organization’s information, but we need to communicate in our words, our own point of view. We have a unique view of our organization and our community, let’s share what we see, what we know and what we want to say on the largest platform we have ever had.
It’s a great resource for connecting and building relationships.
Social media is an easy way to connect with, and learn from a variety of people that can help grow your nonprofit. Easily collaborate with similar organizations, communicate with the people you serve, and stay up-to-date with what’s happening around you. Facebook events or people talking about upcoming events have made it easier to stay in the know.
Most of us would love to have a direct line of communication to our top donors, supports, community leaders, business leaders and peers. Being active on social media gives us access. Just recently I was in a meeting, and before I could even say hi, the person I came to meet started off by asking if we were going to take a selfie for me to post. He had seen some of my previous posts with counter parts at other companies and he wanted to have one, too. What a positive way to start a meeting. It opened the door for a more open and personal communication, and took down any barriers of wanting to hear what I was there to talk about.
Whether you are a new CEO, or a seasoned veteran, social media is a tool you should be taking advantage of. Go be the face of your organization, use your voice and build some friendships. By personally engaging on social media, you are showing people the passion and commitment you bring to your non-profit. So join me and start posting, tweeting, sharing, snapping and getting active on social media. It can help bring a human element to your organization, inspire the people around you, and provide you with valuable insight and networking.