It’s no secret how social media has become a part of our everyday – every-minute, for that matter – lives. In fact, there are 4.76 billion social media users in the world — a number that’s only growing each year.

Unfortunately, that vast majority of non-profit organizations are not keeping up. According to a study conducted by digital industry leader Hootsuite, only 20% of nonprofits feel “extremely confident” that they’re maximizing their social media potential. That means 80% feel they could be doing more with their social strategy.

The key question is: Does your non-profit have a social media strategy or are you going from day to day, trying to figure out the next post or two?

If that’s the case, it’s time for a reset. You can start by evaluating and possibly expanding the social media platforms you are using and the audiences they serve. This will significantly impact your messaging plans.

The most important task is developing a monthly editorial calendar that lines up with your traditional marketing, communications and fundraising plan. Like a good lasagna, your calendar should be comprised of multiple layers of information – from holidays and key awareness days to events and activities, planned news announcements, select day-to-day happenings and fundraising solicitations. This information should synchronize with your other digital and traditional channels (i.e. your web site, emails, newsletters) for greatest effectiveness.

Be sure to post educational pieces about your cause that capture new visitors. As Hootsuite points out, “36 percent of social media users are online to ‘fill spare time,’ while another 28% log on to ‘see what’s being talked about.’  Post about your cause and get people talking.”

Essential to your plan are impact stories and videos that engage and reinforce your relationships with existing stakeholders. Post your accomplishments after a big fundraising drive or event – wins that are normally buried in your website should be front-and-center in your followers’ feeds.

Social media can also be a powerful fundraising tool. Always include donation links in your posts or stories to make it easy for anyone to help fund your cause. Compliment your email and off-line efforts to raise funds to make giving as easy as “point and click.”

This, by far, is our longest Tuesday Team Tip post to date, because, let’s face it, social media is a critical tool for communicating to supporters and prospects alike. It’s a constantly evolving industry so stay tuned for future posts as well!

And, if you need a sous chef to help you lay the foundation and build the layers of your editorial calendar, the Non-Profit Team is always ready to help. Contact Andy Rose at andy@nonprofitteam.com or (561) 945-9356.