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Overcoming staff shortages: Can social media help?


The last few years have been rough for nonprofits' efforts to retain and recruit talent. You and others working in the sector know this better than anyone. It's been especially difficult to recruit and retain fundraising professionals. A staggering 46 percent are reported to be considering leaving their jobs in the next couple of years. That level of turnover wreaks havoc on even the most high-performing nonprofits.

Person with phone and laptop

Burnout appears to be a major factor. Especially hard hit are fundraisers who've weathered a pandemic, muddled through the cancellation of in-person events and meetings, faced a significant increase in the organization's philanthropy revenue line as the community's need for services has skyrocketed, and dealt with a donor base rattled by a volatile stock market and rising interest rates.

It may be time to consider relying more on technology–and social media specifically–to help your lean fundraising team scale its efforts. Certainly your organization already uses social media to get the word out about your mission and engage with current and prospective donors. But is there more you could be doing to leverage these free online communications tools? 

Here's a checklist to help you consider what your 2023 social media strategy might look like:

  • Review all of your social media profiles. Is the language up to date? Is the brand consistent across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Are the brand and language consistent with what's on your website? As basic as it seems, many organizations' profiles are out of sync, which may cause low-level, constant, subconscious confusion and dissonance in donors' minds. Over time, this may erode the confidence of your fundraising base.
  • Spot check the followers on each of your accounts. Do you recognize the names? If there are people who are following you who are not donors, that spells opportunity. And if your existing donors are not following you, that signals an opportunity as well. Try following each of them, or including a more prominent link to social channels in your next donor communication.
  • Take a hard look at your content. Is it compelling? Are the images engaging? Are you posting on each channel two or three times a week? Are you tagging people and organizations where appropriate? Ask outsiders to give you an honest opinion about your posts and listen to the feedback. Make a list of three or four improvements you could easily implement.
  • Update your 2023 social media plan to address the items above and lay out a rough content calendar so you know you are hitting major issues throughout the year, ranging from events, to endowment opportunities, to celebrating mission successes and showcasing donor stories.
  • Reach out to the community foundation to find out how you can add links in your social media post to your agency endowment fund at the community foundation. This could be an easy way to generate traffic and interest over time and give your team a head start on donor conversations about supporting your endowment. 

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.

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