Top 2 Social Media Monitoring Sources and Tools for Not for Profit Organizations

Image Source  Luke Chesser via Unsplash

Social media has greatly impacted the ways in which people communicate whether they are everyday users communicating with friends and families or companies interacting with their audiences. However, if content and communication are key processes to a social media strategy, monitoring and measuring are equally as important. Through monitoring and measuring one’s social media pages, companies and social media users can profoundly improve their messages and reach.  Here, I would like to examine monitoring tools and sources of news that can be effectively used by not for profit organizations and for my own professional development.

When it comes to staying up to date on news related to not for profit, Narwhal and Charity Village seem to be great sources. Narwhal, launched in 2018, is a Canadian investigative news publication that deals with environmental issues (Gilchrist, 2019). They have also won and have been nominated for many national publishing awards and most recently been accepted as a member of the Institute for Not for Profit News (Gilchrist, 2019). Thus, I believe they are a credible source of information and it would be beneficial to follow them. Another great source for news in the not for profit sector would be Charity Village. They primarily serve as a job search site where job seekers can find meaningful work. However, readers can be updated on latest news through their articles, newsletters and podcasts. Charity Village also has online webinars and courses for their audience. This site is of particular interest to me as I am currently hoping for a career and industry change. Charity Village provides great resources to stay in the know as well as develop one’s skills whether they are currently in the not for profit sector or seeking new opportunities within it.

Two social media monitoring tools that are helpful to not for profits would be Google Alerts and BuzzSumo. Google Alerts, I believe, is a staple in the industry. If not for anything else, knowing how to navigate and utilize Google Alerts will be beneficial for one’s general and industry knowledge. I like the fact you can monitor websites, news, blogs, discussion boards, books and videos and even monitor by region and language on a daily basis. According to Boch, BuzzSumo is a great tool and is extremely valuable for nonprofit marketing toolbox as it saves both time and energy. From the few minutes I spent on it, I found it to be very user friendly. BuzzSumo allows users to trace and analyze competitor’s content and find influencers within the industry as well (Boch, n.d).

I believe these two social media monitoring tools and two sources of news channels would be of great value to me as I start to dig deeper into my areas of interest. Do you have any suggestions for other sources of news and tools for social media listening designed for not for profits? What are some of the hurdles you are finding with using such tools and any advice you’d like to share?


Bloch, Becca. (n.d). It did what? Free NGO Marketing Tools. Elevation [Blog Post].   

Gilchrist, Emma. (2019). Institute for Nonprofit News welcomes The Narwhal as sole Canadian


Out of the Box

Social media cannot be disputed as a superior form of marketing. With all the technological advances today, the way we are marketed at has become so refined and so exact that it’s scary. In this course we talk a lot about the positives and the best practices, but an unexpected application of online marketing has been the basic enslavement of society. We have gone beyond the basic tools of marketing and into a realm where the human mind is being manipulated and changed. 

Recently, I watched The Social Dilemma. A Netflix documentary that goes into great detail over the unethical nature of social media, and by extension marketing using social media. What was presented in the documentary was not new information to me in any way, but the presentation really drove it all home. Up until watching it, I always said these advancements were good for marketing and made life easier and we as humans should be able to handle it. I don’t think that is the case so much anymore. It’s like my caffeine addiction. I know Pepsi is bad for me, I know all the reasons why, but I still drink it every single day. Even now, through my pregnancy. I’ve cut back, but as much as I’d like to tell myself I can cut it completely, I couldn’t. Social media has that same effect. Like Pavlov’s dogs, we jump for our devices upon hearing a notification go off and then we’re sucked in. 

I don’t mind being advertised to, or the creative ways marketers advertise, but I am concerned for the mental health of humanity because this has maybe gone a bit too far. When I started to become interested in social media marketing, I wanted to learn all these tricks and take advantage of all the new ways to target and get out there. I knew social media in itself could be damaging to the psyche, but I didn’t realize how connected the marketing aspect was to it all. Without advertisements the services wouldn’t be free, platforms are continuously improving marketing methods to continue to pull big dollars from advertisers, and so every notification or scroll or like is all a part of the major marketing plan.

From the movie ‘They Live’ (1988)

With all this in mind, I do feel a small sense of guilt for wanting to get in on the scheme, but at the same time marketing has always been portrayed as a sort of evil industry. One of my favourite movies is ‘They Live’, in which a drifter stumbles upon a big alien conspiracy where he discovers every magazine, billboard, television and radio advertisement held subliminal messaging to control the general public. Subliminal messaging has been proven to be a known part of marketing, and I find that fascinating more than evil (unless of course aliens are using it to control us). In the end, I have to sort of shrug my shoulders and say: it is what it is. I need to do my part to not let social media control my life while using it to get a job done. Perhaps there is a better way to make this form of marketing less harmful and I’m all for that, but I also need a job so… here we are.


Netflix. (2020). The Social Dilemma.

Professional Networking: Now & In the Future

Professional networking is insanely important for your career, whether you work in an office, for yourself, or out in a field. I learned a lot about networking at a very young age because my Mother was and still is a politician. I went everywhere with her, possibly a result of being the youngest, and I got to see first-hand how important it was to make connections- even if there was no immediate benefit to you in the moment. Somewhere, down the line, every connection you make could come in handy. This was also a strategy Mum used as a farmer, which has helped a lot over the years.  

As I became an adult, I learned to be very socially savvy and make these connections for myself. I began as a teenager to get involved with various organizations and events to get my name out there and meet people. In a rural community it’s very easy to become well known by doing that. As my world grew, so did my connections and I followed proudly in my Mother’s footsteps. Unfortunately, in that, my Mum sort of became a bit of a stage mother. She was always forcing introductions to important politicians and thrusting my work at them, as well as nudging me at events to speak with this person or that person. I appreciated her wanting to see me succeed but a baby bird needs to fly. Separating myself from her within our shared world is difficult but necessary if I ever hope to be taken seriously. 

My current strategy for networking involves attending every conference or event related to my industry that I can get to and shaking as many hands as I can. Running for positions within my agricultural organizations has also opened a lot of connections for me. Last year I ran for a director position with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and had to make a speech to all the attendees of the conference. Though I was not the successful candidate, I had been seen, heard, and my intentions made clear. I made hundreds of connections through that experience, the most important being an invite to a lobby day at Queens Park where I was able to meet with Members of Provincial Parliament. A dream come true for me.  

Virtually, I have a profile on practically every social media platform going. Certain platforms are more focused on different things, but I make sure that my voice and my personality are consistent. When I meet someone in person, I hand them my business card and encourage them to connect with me online as well so we can continue to stay in touch. That is key for farmers, like myself, who may only see someone once a year at a conference or event. Social media has really made networking a lot easier to do in that regard, it also makes it easier to connect with people further away that you might not have met otherwise who are in your industry. I personally prefer meeting someone face to face, but the online component is important for lasting relationships.

conference coffee is both tiny and gross, but gets you through it all.

Going forward, I will continue to push myself further. I have never had a problem meeting new people and I enjoy testing myself by putting myself into situations that are stressful but ultimately beneficial. I am very passionate about my industry and my career and in order to have any success in either I need to get out and have my voice heard. Whether that’s by a neighbouring farmer or an MPP who could make the difference in getting proper internet to rural communities. I am my Mother’s outspoken, passionate, determined daughter and networking is as easy for me as breathing. I was devastated when Covid-19 robbed me of all my events and conferences this year. I will be attending virtual conferences, but the professional networking will be lost and missed. Here’s hoping next year I can get back on track!