Developing Social Media for Small and Really Small Non-Profits 


I work for a small non-profit with no social media plan. I am not a social media junkie. I am not even a fan of social media. I read the odd blog for information purposes; watch the odd You Tube video, sometimes for fun, sometimes for learning. I work at Grace Place (I am the only employee and I work part time) which is a church hall that has developed into a non-profit organization that provides economical program space to organizations in the community.

So how does a newbie start? Where do I even begin? On social media of course! I read a number of articles on social media for non-profits. Some were obvious, others onerous, but eventually I came upon a blog that spoke to me.   A Strategic Guide to Social Media for Non-profits by Alicia Johnson on Sprout Social  has eight clearly defined steps. My blog will work through these steps, find research to help me answer my questions, and hopefully in the end I can come up with a social media plan that I and my organization can follow and build upon. If I can help someone else like me along the way even better.

So here it goes…

Step 1. Define Social’s Role in Your Communications Strategy

Having a Communications Strategy to begin with might have helped, but why sweat the small stuff. To paraphrase the blog, my social media strategy should align with my strategic goals and target audience. The key word seems to be engagement; I need to capture my target audience’s attention. I need to consider how I am going to connect my social media to my website and blog, email marketing and other content I have online. Well one out of five ain’t bad; at least I have a website.

Back to the Communications Strategy. In Know How Non-Profit’s blog  Developing a Communications Strategy , many of the steps coincide with the steps for social media, but I will focus on my statement of purpose, what is it that I want my communications to do.

  • Increase the number of organizations who use the facility
  • Increase the number of people who will participate in those organizations
  • Engage our stakeholders: organizations, users, funders and community about what is going on

Step 2. Determine What to Accomplish

In Top 5 Reasons Why Non-profits Should Use Social Media, author Marianne listed goals that align with what I am looking for from social media. I want to:

1. Engage and Connect: I want to connect to my target audiences and get them interested in who we are and what we do. We will measure this by the number of followers and whether they increase and engage.

2. Drive Traffic: I want new people to go to my website or walk through the door. I want organizations to look at the room videos on our website and check out our calendar to determine if we have space for them. But I also want to be a value added for our groups, if we can bring them new members, which is still a bonus for us because it will create loyalty with our “customers”. We will measure this by recording the number of enquiries and whether they increase after the establishment of social media.

3. Shareable Content Means More Exposure: I want people to see what we and our organizations are doing. What happens in our building is life changing, from the person celebrating 35 years of sobriety with us, to the person walking through the door the first time for a meal; we make lives better. The more good things that our target audiences see; the more they will think that we are the place to support. We will measure this by the number of times Grace Place content is shared.

4. Marketing Tools: Our only marketing tools right now are our website with a few videos and a printed brochure. A social media management tool will be needed to keep our strategy manageable. In looking at a number of management tools I have found two that I want to look into

  • Hootsuite lets you link all of your social media accounts to one website and manage them from there. You can schedule all of your social media engagement for a week and then just respond when needed.
  • Post Planner helps you find relevant and highly rated content to share with your followers on social media. It can save you a lot of time that you would otherwise spend scouring the web or social platforms to find sharable content.

  • Twitter can allow us to post a quick picture and message for someone’s accomplishment on any given day

We will measure this by recording the time spent on social media and comparing it to the success of the other measurements.

5. Extend Your PR Reach: This would not be difficult. Any outreach would be positive for us. We will need to begin by linking up with our partner organizations. Some of our organizations have social media and followers that we can benefit from in the beginning. We will also look at connecting to Brampton media and people of influence in the community to ensure wide coverage of our stories. We will measure this by Grace Place appearances in social media.


So I have investigated the first two steps in A Strategic Guide to Social Media for Non-profits. A little wiser, a little less anxious and a little more open to the idea of social media for Grace Place. Still not entirely convinced, but never fear there are still six more steps to go.

2 thoughts on “

  1. Really nice article. We’re going through a process like this at work right now and I’m going to borrow some of your points for some of our conversation. Good luck with improving your social media reach and impact.

    Out of curiosity, have you thought about any sort of social media contest/giveaway to jump start the process? A friend of mine works for a home builder and they’ve had a lot of success using a giveaway that requires reposting/tweeting and friend tagging to try and spread word about not just the contest, but to try and spread awareness of their social media accounts. Then they follow up with a lot of the tenants you mention above.

    • That’s a great idea. For a lot of our crowd it could be something really simple like food cards. It would get our funders attention but more importantly it would get the people who visit us to pay attention as well. thanks

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