Buidling social value through social media: A non-profit organization approach

Non-profit organizations and other agencies with the goal of social change operate in a general framework of creating social value, along with increasing social support for their mission. Recently, with the rise of social media use, NPOs have targeted social media users for the exact purpose of maintaining those originally stated goals. Social media platforms are specifically created to encourage interaction between users and to help develop a relationship between the person or the organization represented by the page and the viewer looking at the page. This is possible through the development of trust by the viewer and the page content. Social media sites that portray a level of truth, respectability, and sincerity in mission and activities, as far as organizations are concerned, are able to gain large numbers in support over a significant period of time.  It is especially important for an organization, a NPO in particular, to develop a trust factor in people unfamiliar with the aims of the organization through the promotional tools used.

Studies have shown that the use of SMS has made a necessarily, imperative impact on gaining monetary donations and supports for specific campaigns. The micro-blogging site known as Twitter has been cited as a great marketing tool for receiving SMS user traffic. Non-profit organizations seek to enhance social value, not only of their organizations, but also at large especially for the associated stakeholders. Initially, gaining support for NPOs and the related campaigns is not as simple as just having the sites present. Additional effort in promotion of each site is required first hand. However, the beauty of SMS is that once the initial effort is made and a set amount of individuals have become followers, the rest “is history.” People share pages and posts that are important to their personal beliefs and goals. Thus, the immediate message a NPO portrays to its viewers on the SMSs used is of particular importance.

In summary, here are some tips to begin social value building:

  • Develop and finalize a concise mission not only of the organization but of the page
    • There’s nothing worse than confusing content and mixed messages
  • Figure out which elements in which specific SMSs will correctly encourage that mission
  • Create SMSs and connect each RSS feed
  • Stabilize content and KEEP IT CONSISTENT meaning post regularly
    • It can be brief, just keep it coming!
    • People want to know what you or your organization is about
  • Recognize your target audience and actually speak to them!
    • Nothing generic
  • If the goal is adding to social value, then create content that is socially valuable not bland and unappealing
  • Start out with a recent initiative and state what those goals were
    • Not just through words, but pictures and other interactive content

Check out some research studies on this topic:

Nah, S. & Saxton G.D. (2013). Modeling the adoption and use of social media by nonprofit organizations, New Media and Society, 15(2), 294-313.

 Mago, V.K., Morden, H.K., Fritz, C., Wu, T., Namazi, S., Geranmayeh, P., Chattopadhyay, R. & Dabbaghian, V. (2013). Analyzing the impact of social factors on homelessness: A fuzzy cognitive map approach, BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making, 13(1), 1-19.


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