Revised with new information as of
January 19, 2017
A free resource for nonprofit
organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations,
charities, schools, public sector agencies & other mission-based
by Jayne Cravens
(same web site)
Daily, Mandatory, Minimal Tasks
for Nonprofits on Facebook & Twitter
There are a lot of nonprofits using Facebook and Twitter just to post
to press releases. And if that's how your nonprofit, NGO or government
agency is using social media, then your organization is missing out on most
of the benefits you could gain from such. Facebook, Twitter and other
social media are all about engagement.
Social media is NOT one-way
communication; you want people and organizations to read your
information, but you also want them to respond to it. And they want YOU
to respond to what THEY are saying.
Let me be blunt: if your organization or program's Facebook page and
Twitter account are pretty much just announcements of new items for sale
through your organization, requests for donations, and the usual, boring
press releases, your social media activities are NOT worth following!
There are certain things that a nonprofit, NGO, government agency or
other mission-based organization should be doing every day on social
media to make using such worthwhile: to attract more volunteers and
financial donors, to keep your current volunteers and financial donors,
to attract media attention, and to ensure your organization is seen as
relevant and credible by elected officials and the general public.
Note: the term "every day" used here means every week day; it excludes
weekends and holidays.
I broke these must-do tasks down into the most simple, basic list as
possible - these tasks take minutes, not hours, a day.
- Tag any person mentioned in a Facebook status update you create if
that person is on Facebook, especially if that person is an employee,
a volunteer, an elected official, or some other person you want to be
aware of what you have written. You do that by putting an @ symbol at
the start of a person's name and, once you've spelled out their name
completely, Facebook should automatically show if he or she is on
Facebook. Make sure you are tagging the right person - a lot of people
on Facebook have the same name.
- Tag any organization (nonprofit, university, NGO, CSO, government
agency, etc.) mentioned in a Facebook status update you create if such
is on Facebook. Put a @ symbol at the start of the organization's name
and, usually, once you finish typing out the name, it will show if
that organization is on Facebook or not. Make sure you are tagging the
right organization (many organizations and programs have the same name
- many towns and cities in the USA have the same names).
- Tag any person shown in a Facebook photo shared by your
organization (and if it is a volunteer, make sure that volunteer knows
you will be posting the photo; you should already have a photo-release
permission agreement signed by each volunteer on file, so that you
don't have to ask for prior permission before publishing).
- Tag any organization (nonprofit, university, NGO, CSO, government
agency, etc.) shown in a Facebook photo shared by your organization.
- Put a description on EVERY photo you share on Facebook (not just
the album; EACH photo should have a description. It can be the same
description, over and over.) This is so that if someone clicks on just
one photo, rather than the album, they will know what they are looking
at. It also gives you an opportunity to tag more people (if different
people are in different photos).
- Every day, take 10 full minutes to look at the pages of your
partner organizations, organizations you really want to partner with,
the page of your national headquarters or other state affiliates,
etc., and like their status updates. This will lets those
organizations know you are reading their information, and it
encourages them to look at, and like, your status updates.
- Every day, like every
comment made on your organization's Facebook status update unless it
is hateful (that includes liking statements that might be slightly
critical – liking a critical comment does not mean you are agreeing
with them, merely showing you are reading/listening).
- Reply to any question made on your organization's Facebook status
update, unless it is rhetorical criticism.
- Post a "thank you" comment to comments made on your Facebook status
- Delete completely off-topic comments promptly.
- Never have Facebook status updates automatically post to Twitter.
NEVER. That's because Twitter will cut off the message after about 100
characters, often rendering your Facebook message incoherent on
- Check the "Notifications" link EVERY day and (1) post a tweet that
tags and thanks those who retreated any of your tweets recently (2)
favorite any tweet that mentions your organization and is positive and
(3) answer any questions promptly (reply to the tweet – your reply
will be public).
- Tag any person, organization or government or company you are
mentioning in a tweet status update if they are on Twitter. For
instance, for UNDP Ukraine, this is a recommendation I made for a
tweet for a photo that featured the Deputy Resident Representative:
UNDP Ukraine Dep. Res Rep @InitaGE makes
a presentation re: gender equality ---linktophoto---
Don't just post press releases and official announcements. Also post
messages or photos that are informal, that show the human side of your
organization. For instance:
That's the minimal your organization needs to be doing on Facebook and
Twitter. There is so much more you could be doing to use social media to
better engage with current and potential volunteers and supporters,
clients, the press, partner organizations, etc., but this is the minimal.
- when staff members are particularly moved or challenged by their
work that day
- when staff are working well past official working hours
- when volunteers have done something particularly outstanding, or
just been a lot of fun
- when staff or volunteers have had to dig out from mounds of snow so
your office can be open that day
- your IT staff surrounded (overwhelmed?) by newly-arrived IT
- staff or volunteers at a training workshop
- staff or volunteers eating at their desks because they don't have
time to go out
- staff or volunteers arriving or leaving work by bicycle
Follow me on
Twitter and Facebook
for more advice and examples of how to use social media. Also see this
blog I wrote about what
nonprofits I think do a great job with Facebook.
Other Resources (on my web site or blog):
- For Schools: You Should Be Using Social
Media. Here's How
There are a lot of web sites saying what the benefits are for schools
to use social media. But there's few that give specifics on what a
public school should be sharing via Facebook, Twitter, etc. This
advice talks not only about exactly what your school should be posting
to social media, but the consequences of not doing so, as well how to
handle tough questions and criticism. It also links to legal
- For Local City & County
Governments: You Should Be Using Social Media. Here's How
To not be using social media to deliver information and
to engage means you are denying critical information to much of your
community and promoting an image of secrecy and lack of
transparency. In fact, the lack of use of social media can be seen
as your city council or county government trying to hide something,
and even lead to rumors that are much harder to dispel than they
would have been to prevent. This advice talks not only about exactly
what your school should be posting to social media, but also how to
handle tough questions and criticism.
Online Activities: Online Action Should Create & Support Offline
Hundreds of "friends" on an online social networking site. Thousands
of subscribers to an email newsletter. Dozens of attendees to a
virtual event. Those are impressive numbers on the surface, but if
they don't translate into more volunteers, repeat volunteers, new
donors, repeat donors, more clients, repeat clients, legislation, or
public pressure, they are just that: numbers. For online activities to
translate into something tangible, online action must create and
support action. What could this look like? This resource can help
organizations plan strategically about online activities so that they
lead to something tangible - not just numbers.
- How to handle online criticism of your
- Getting More Viewers for Your Organization's
Videos are a great way to represent your organization's work, to show
you make a difference, to promote a message or action that relates to
your mission, etc. But just uploading a video isn't enough to attract
an audience. This new page on my site offers specific steps that will
get more views for your organization's videos on YouTube. Note that
many of these tasks would be great for an online volunteer to
undertake, with guidance from an appropriate staff member.
importance of Twitter lists
awesome power of tweet tags
I won’t follow you on Twitter
(was 13) things you do to annoy me on social media
A tongue-in-cheek effort to encourage mission-based organizations to
do a better job with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social
use to organize Women’s Marches: lessons learned
Facebook was an essential tool in organizing women’s marches all over
the USA in January 2017. They may have been the largest single day of
marches in US history. This blog is a list of things I learned
observing the online organizing first hand.
dark side of the Internet for mission-based organizations
social media success? You’re probably doing it wrong.
can help you reach more people on Facebook
- How to handle online
criticism of your organization.
Potential Power for Social Good – with REAL examples.
of Maturity in Nonprofit Orgs Using Online Services.
Not-for-Profit and Public Sector Agencies REALLY Use Online
a Twitter exchange lead to change in a Kentucky nonprofit law?
use social media to invite community participation, show compassion
do international NGOs use Twitter?
nonprofit & government agencies “get” FaceBook?
criticism, misinformation & hate speech online
- Nonprofit Organizations and Online Social
Networking (OSN): Advice and Commentary.
- Basic Press Outreach for Mission-Based
Like fund-raising, press relations is an ongoing cultivation process.
Your agency strategy for press coverage needs to go beyond trying to
land one big story -- you want the press to know that you are THE
agency to contact whenever they are doing a story on a subject that
relates to your mission. These are basic, low-cost/no cost things you
can do to generate positive attention from the media.
- What are good blog topics for
The word "blog" is short for "web log", and means keeping a journal or
diary online. Blogging is NOT a new concept -- people have been doing
it long before it had a snazzy media label. The appeal of blogging for
an online audience is that it's more personal and less formal than
other information on a web site. Readers who want to connect with an
organization on a more personal level, or who are more intensely
interested in an organization than the perhaps general public as a
whole, love blogs. Blogs can come from your Executive Director, other
staff members, volunteers, and even those you serve. Content options
are many, and this list reviews some
of your options
- For Nonprofits Considering Their Own
Podcasts: Why It's Worth Exploring, and Content Considerations
(includes my own podcast)
- How folklore, rumors and
urban myths interfere with development and aid/relief efforts
and how to prevent or address such.
- THE CLUETRAIN MANIFESTO
"We appreciate your efforts in spreading this important sedition." A
project from 1999 that is still completely relevant today (and shows
why the Internet has ALWAYS been "online social networking" and
there's nothing at all really all that new about sites like FaceBook).
It's a challenge to companies to quit thinking that they can control
the Internet and online culture and shape it to fit their outdated PR
and marketing dreams, and to quit fearing its "open" nature and,
instead, realize that this open system can actually be a good thing in
the quest to meet customer needs and move products and messages.
consulting services & my
workshops & presentations
credentials & expertise
My book: The
Last Virtual Volunteering
Community Outreach, With & Without Tech
Free Resources: Technology
Tips for Non-Techies
Free Resources: Web
Development, Maintenance, Marketing for non-Web designers
Free Resources: For
people & groups that want to volunteer
or from my web site
Coyote Helps Foundation
Jayne's Amazon Wishlist
social media (follow me, like me, put me in a circle, subscribe to
Disclaimer: No guarantee of accuracy or suitability is made by the
poster/distributor. This material is provided as is, with no expressed
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The art work and material on this site
was created and is copyrighted 1996-2018
by Jayne Cravens, all rights reserved
(unless noted otherwise, or the art comes from a link to another web