Sharing Lessons from Elmo, Obama, Cute Puppies and American Red Cross

By now you know the importance of your organization having a lively social media presence. Ultimately, however we know that social media is most powerful when individuals share messages on behalf of organizations. For Gen X and Y sharing comes natural – after all we grew up with Elmo and Big Bird insisting upon it. Now is the time for nonprofits to start encouraging supporters to become ambassadors for you by creating and sharing messages and images about your cause.

Here are 3 steps to get social media enthusiasts to share:

Step 1. Create a Strategy


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Recently, a re-election campaign office in Florida for President Obama posted this visual explaining how their staff and volunteers could use each social media channel (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) for different purposes.

As more and more new social media channels arise, it’s important to have this level of clarity on the purpose of each and not to just use every channel the same way. While many organizations have given thought to what channels they want have a presence on, Obama’s campaign is a great example of taking it a step farther and strategically thinking through how supporters can have a presence on different channels for you.

2. Ask Supporters To Help

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In our Millennial Donor & Engagement Research, we repeatedly hear from young volunteers that they are more than willing to help nonprofits, but often aren’t asked to. It’s time to start asking. Here are two easy ideas.

  • Create a landing page explaining some of the things supporters can share. We love how ASPCA asks supporters to use Facebook to help animals on their Get Involved page.
  • Consider creating volunteer positions such Social Media Ambassador, Blog Contributor, or Pinterest Curator to encourage enthusiastic posters. This opportunity will allow them to take ownership and responsibility of the task giving extra incentive to do it well.

3. Make Great Sharable Content

Continue posting great content on your own Facebook and Twitter pages for your supporters to share. American Red Cross is one of the best at providing a great mix of content. Here are 5 examples:

1. Fun Facts

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2. Links to Informative Blog Posts

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3. Questions That Encourage Commenting 
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4. Volunteer Thank You’s and Shout Outs!
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5. Great Images

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With visual sites like Pinterest on the rise and photos taking on a larger role on Facebook, creating sharable images will be just as important. Look for a blog post on this topic soon with some great examples and ideas to get you started.

Remember – sharing isn’t just for kids anymore!