Time Well Spent: How Much Effort a Non-Profit Should Devote to Social Media Fundraising

As the old saying goes, time is money. And for non-profits struggling with a small staff and persistent budgetary concerns, that old adage holds special meaning. After all, in the increasingly online world in which cause-related organizations prosper or fail it can be difficult to understand how to allocate limited resources, especially towards a solid social media presence that translates to dollars and cents.


Thankfully, the book Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits breaks down, in clear and concise terms, just how much time an organization should devote to building and managing a social media campaign.

Of course, much depends on capacity: operating with few personnel and within a budget that doesn’t allow for a dedicated media manager will need to limit how much effort can be put forth on these campaigns. And often responsibilities need to be shared or spread out across staff members, with hopefully one principal employee keeping an eye out for “best practices.”

Medium to large non-profits, however, should absolutely be looking at hiring individuals who sole purpose is to manage media communications and examine such specific elements as website traffic, the efficiency of e-newsletter conversions, how their organization’s overall brand recognition is being received by an often global audience and what types of content is attracting the most attention.

To that end, Mobile for Good has provided an “estimate of how much time mobile and social media require” for successes to be measured in money earned, volunteers recruited and so on.

  • Writing a blog and keeping the content fresh and engaging can be hard work, but it pays off. With a dedicated six hour time frame an effecting blogger should be able to compose two posts weekly and add compelling imagery and video.
  • Facebook is an almost must-have for today’s non-profits. Post up-to-date information, respond to comments and delve into analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t for a solid four hours each week.
  • Give Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn a total of 15 to 20 hours a week of tweets, retweets, share updates, message responses, blog posts and reports, image and video sharing and profile maintenance and you’ll effectively cover the major social media outlets that each enjoy unique demographics, therefore ensuring you’re reaching out to the widest audience possible.
  • For one hour a week upload video, manage playlists and subscribe to channels on YouTube. Mobile for Good also recommends examining the campaigns of other non-profits and seeing what’s working for them in the realm of video sharing.
  • Devoting the total of the aforementioned hours to managing social media outlets won’t be truly effective if you don’t put time aside for the pure research that helps you generate content and fine-tune your strategies. So put aside two to three hours a week and read about rising trends in online non-profit fundraising, what’s new in your specific cause’s arena of influence and how to meld your efforts with those of your fellow staff members working in other capacities.

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