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Non-profits and Social Media

By Dawn Sailors   •   2 February, 2011

02
Feb

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Non-profits and Social Media

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Non-profit marketing wears many “hats” – generating awareness, raising funds to keep the doors open, and promoting programs to the individuals who would benefit. Essentially, you have to speak to several audiences – the people you serve, your donors and the general public (a.k.a. potential donors). The Internet provides a bevy of opportunities for nonprofits, including many opportunities in the world of social media.

Non-profits are making use of Facebook and Twitter to connect with potential donors and with the individuals or groups they serve. One of the biggest challenges for nonprofits using these tools is how to bring more awareness to the organization – how do you grow awareness? How can you avoid just speaking to the converted?

One of the ways to generate awareness among the general public is to conduct outreach to bloggers and websites that have the potential to be interested in the work you are doing. For one of our clients, the St. Francis mission in South Dakota, we did just that – reaching out to bloggers to let them know about the work St. Francis is doing.

St. Francis Mission is a ministry of the of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) among the 20,000 Lakota (Sioux) people on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in south-central South Dakota. The leadership of St. Francis Mission is striving to make positive effects on the daily life of the Lakota tribes it serves. As part of this evolution, it became evident that the mission needed to grow awareness among the Catholic community outside of the mission’s general footprint in South Dakota and Nebraska.

In October, IRiDiAN Group began reaching out to bloggers and podcasters who share a passion for the Catholic Church, Native American crafts and the Native American people and let them know about the work of the Mission. To date, the Mission has received coverage on fourteen blogs and podcasts, reaching over 300,000 unique monthly visitors, and there are over six planned features on other blogs in the works.

Coverage has occurred on prominent blogs and podcasts, such as CraftGossip (www.craftgossip.com), iPadre.net (www.ipadre.net), and Catholic and Loving It, (markshea.blogspot.com) as well as smaller blogs such as Ad Dominum (http://ad-dominum.com/), Quilting Inspiration (http://quiltinspiration.blogspot.com/) and the Catholic Jedi Academy (www.catholicjediacademy.com). With each piece of coverage, we have been able to target key demographics that would have otherwise not known about the Mission.

Since blog posts started appearing about St. Francis, the unique monthly visitors to the site have grown from less than 250 a month to over 1500, and come from all over the world. For a mission that lives and works in South Dakota, that truly is growing outside of your footprint.



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