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Nonprofit online presence

Updated: Mar 12, 2019


Lindsey Hrinowich

Working with nonprofit organizations is a completely different territory than with any other entity. Nonprofits exist to do good work for those in need, though the translation doesn’t always cater on the receiving end. The mindset of (most) small nonprofits is to get on every social channel in hopes that their supporters find them. Without a designated communications employee facilitating those accounts, they run dry within weeks.

The problem with this trend is that it typically hurts the organization. When an a potential contributor clinks on a Twitter link to an empty feed, it eliminates trust in the nonprofit. While being on different social channels is a great thought, it needs regulations. The good news is that there is no pressure to be on every site imaginable. If you can only handle one, then only do one. The key is to do the one you choose incredibly well and reach your audience effectively.


Online tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social practice inbound marketing by giving organizations free opportunities to grow their social media platforms. For example: Sprout Social offers a guide to help nonprofits create a social media strategy. Certifications, free trials and analytic tools will help each organization decipher where their focus needs to land. The extra perk to utilizing these mediums is that they are cost effective, something that heavily influences important decisions in a nonprofits daily operation.


There is no exact science toward determining how a strategy will perform or stand the test of time. The key is to look at best practices and seek out help from people who are skilled in the art of connecting with others via social media. The main ingredient is understanding who the target audience is and building a persona around who the main visitors are. Below are five basic tips for developing a persona effectively.


1. Who is interested in your organization?

Find out who is frequently visiting your page. As aforementioned, there are multiple avenues to get analytics, especially when using Facebook as a nonprofit. Facebook offers simple analytics for businesses and nonprofits, they’re help guide is a good place to start.


2. Draft Personas

Identify the top three to five types of visitors and create names in order to humanize the personas.


3. Establish an Identity

Begin creating a personality for the frequent visitors and pinpoint what their likes and dislikes might be. This can be done through research on the Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. Simply look at the visitors who follow the page and work through who follows the preset personas.


4. Just Ask

To follow tip number three, consider making a basic survey for the followers. A short questionnaire is an easy way to ask what kind of content each persona enjoys.


5. Revise Frequently

Update each persona regularly. Organizations goals change and visitors interest change even more quickly. Every three to six months, re-evaluate who is a frequent visitor.


Lindsey Hrinowich is a senior from Fishers, Ind., majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. Hrinowich is an account manager with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.


fsc@anderson.edu | Anderson University (IN)

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