If you are involved with leadership of a nonprofit organization then you are likely to be aware of the effort and expense to boost the online presence and branding of your organization online. It’s all the rage today. These efforts usually revolve around bolstering the organization’s web site and then outreach through social media.
The real questions remain
Yet far too many nonprofit organizations follow these paths based on pure faith that the strategy will work. After all, everyone else is doing it, right? Surely we are smart following the same path. As the controller or financial adviser, I approach it differently. Perhaps we should first ask:
If you build it, will they come?
If they come, will they contribute to our organization’s goals?
How can we better use our website and online presence to achieve our goals?
Nonprofit web sites and social media campaigns can be used to further a range of organizational goals. Of course, different organizations will have different goals and focus.
Where’s the money?
My own focus is on use of these online platforms primarily for crowdfunding and revenue growth purposes, whether through donations, member recruitment, program promotions or otherwise. An accountant’s mind is pulled toward the pragmatic question: what are we getting for our money? I happen to believe that an organization – nonprofit or otherwise – should not commit to funding an online strategy unless and until there is a reasonable strategy to generate funding to cover the cost of that campaign.
The strategies of crowdfunded nonprofit organizations are changing rapidly. The tools and resources in this niche are evolving at amazing speed. I believe that organizations’ leaders who embrace the change and commit resources to learning how to work in this dynamic new environment will do well in making their efforts pay off. Success will be determined by the organization’s commitment to working in this new environment. Others that put up their website and Facebook page and put a volunteer in charge of running them but do not change their fundamental approach to public relationships will languish.
Where does your nonprofit organization fit into this discussion? I’d love to hear your feedback. For more information on improving performance of nonprofit organizations, request a copy of my booklet “What every nonprofit board member should know”. It is free to officers and directors of nonprofit organizations.