iStock_000021324369SmallWe all know that technology and social media are changing at warp speed. For example, Facebook is now introducing bots (artificial intelligence, also known as AI) to help you make online travel bookings or dinner reservations. Not a month is passing now without there being significant advances by one company or another in the news.

That’s the world we live in and it’s crucial for nonprofits to understand the scope of what we’re dealing with. As a matter of fact, I will tell you that you’ll be spending more and more of your time in the digital world than outside of it. The potential is incredible to dominate and excel in digital marketing if you and your team become pros at it.

The Facts About Social Media

Information is one of the key ingredients to success in marketing and fundraising for your nonprofit. Thankfully for you, we live in the information age. At no time in human history has any one individual been able to obtain as much information as he or she can in today’s world. That’s clearly because of the Internet.

And, there’s a fight of sorts, taking place to see who’s going to be dominating the access and world of information at your finger tips. Will it be Facebook? Google? YouTube?

Who knows.

We’ll see how it plays out, but in the meantime, you have to get informed and you have to help inform your team–and that includes your senior management professionals, volunteers and board members.

I’d like to share the stats from Global Web Index[1] about where we are with social media at this point in time. Remember, information is power. With it, you can understand the landscape and make decisions.

  • We have over 7 billion people living in the world today. Every month, 3.4 billion people are on the web and 2.3 are on social media.
  • In the United States 87 percent of the population is on the Internet.
  • In our country 59 percent of people on the Internet are using social media.
  • Mobile search growth around the world is 21 percent. Although the majority of people still surf the web on their desktop, every year it’s moving to mobile more and more.
  • Facebook has over 1.5 billion users. However, although it clearly is the dominant social media platform in today’s world, for a variety of reasons, there are openings for other social media platforms as Facebook continues to mature and develop as a legacy system. In other words, Facebook will always have to be on offense to stay relevant, especially to young users who are not remotely interested in sharing their updates with their parents.
  • Still, Facebook dominates. Its communications app, WhatsApp, is the second largest social media platform with 900 million users and its Messenger app has over 800 million users.
  • Instagram has over 400 million users and Twitter over 320 million.
  • YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google and has over 1 billion users.

Content Is King

The old adage is true: content is king. If you’re not on social media, your nonprofit, school or social enterprise does not exist. You have to have social media as a key component of your marketing plan.

If you’re thinking you don’t have to worry because you have a ready supply of major donors who support your organization, you’re being short sighted. Every year people on your list are growing older and dying. You have to think long term. And, that has to include social media.

Share third-party content. Inform people about who you are and make direct pitches. These are all elements of a sensible social media strategy.

  • Know your followers. Your supporters came to support your nonprofit for some reason. However, it doesn’t mean they’re going to come back. You have to get them to come back. So, on social media it’s very important to understand your customer, in this case your followers. Why are they supporting you? What is it that you provide that’s of interest to them? Your content should be targeted in that manner. Ask supporters questions. Don’t assume anything. Always be in a learning mode. Gather data about your followers. Make adjustments.
  • Visual content. There’s a reason why YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google. Think about it. When you want to see a video about anything, you probably go search for it on YouTube. Scroll through your own social media platforms and every day you’ll see that posts and tweets have compelling images. Increasingly we’re moving to video. Actually, we’re really moving to live video, but one step at a time. Get your posts and tweets amped up with photography and video.
  • Live streaming. If you’re looking to really get ahead, get going on live streaming. The time has come. Next year we’re all going to be very comfortable seeing live streams by all of our friends and brands we follow. I would say this is the year where live stream is seriously bursting into the scene. Last year we had Meerkat and Periscope. Periscope won the battle. This year, Facebook has entered the fray. Check out what’s happening here with live streaming. Learn about it. Want to stay ahead of your competitors? Start doing live streaming.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Be Bold, Dominate and Succeed in Marketing For Today’s Digital World On A Limited Budget” (Free Digital Download)


© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.


[1] “Digital in 2016: We Are Social’s Compendium of Global Digital, Social, And Mobile Data, Trends, And Statistics ,” We Are Social, Simon Kemp, January, 2016,