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Community Management for Nonprofit Organizations

We so often talk about communities and how they fit into support, content, marketing, pr, etc—but we had never really talked about community for nonprofit organizations. Are their goals and processes different than that of major corporations or start-up companies? We decided to find out.


TheCMgr Q1) What does the day to day look like for a #cmgr working in a nonprofit? Is this really different from a brand/agency?

Twel5  When I managed some NP, it wasn’t different from my other clients. There was a lot of time looking at my listening tools.

EvanWatkins83 Since CM is a portion of my job, it’s all about sending out relevant information and getting people to connect!

GabieKur Goals of a nonprofit or brand/agency#cmgr should be the same! Amplify your message, expand your audience. This shouldn’t change.

justinisaf  The biggest difference is in resources and metrics. Smaller teams = good work environment, but you can’ use standard metrics

leapingwoman end goals are diff for profit/nonprofit, but not sure the mechanics of the day vary much. listening, engaging, sharing.

leapingwoman primary diff may be in calls to action since nonprofits aren’t focused on sales

aprils_pen The one thing that is the same between private & public sectors is accuracy & maintaining trust are most important.

dschotthoefer  Where it may be best practice for the #nonprofit to nurture established donors, a brand agency is working social for exposure.

dschotthoefer #nonprofits community management is building stories so that the donors understand what the ROI is.

andymci Common goal for CMs between NPO’s and for-profit enterprises = telling a story, connecting people. Difference = resources.


TheCMgr Q2) How often do you work with partner organizations/agencies? Is there a lot of collaboration amongst CMs?

EvanWatkins83 We push out information from groups who do similar work to ours, and they share our information and resources too.

justinisaf  it should be all the time. pool knowledge, support others, leverage resources, most importantly introduce communities

djfanco  Partnering is a big deal when you have a marketing alliance, promotional partnership, etc

andymci Our group (local branch of global org) is trying to partner with other groups in our area. The opps are there, but hard to start.

jocelynaucoin: Collaboration is key. Ideas cant survive in solitude.

mellowd08 Having done marketing for a shopping center involved in community, NPs looked to partner w/ me for campaigns.

aprils_pen Collaboration helps maximize the voice of your message. Great part of overall strategy.

apdolan  In the online health community – the goal is changing healthcare grassroots-style – teamwork is essential bwtn all groups.

leapingwoman  for-profits can help by retweeting, sharing nonprofit, amplifying content to their larger audience

KatieBlaine: In #HigherEd it is key to work w other depts to spread word abt news & events. its fun to work together/support

djfanco I’ve always found collaborating based on shared policy interests to be productive, regardless of [non]profit status.

justinisaf FYI – anyone looking for partnerships, reach out to me offline about @HuffPostImpact and we will see how we can support


TheCMgr Q3) When working at a #nonprofit what are the specific goals and metrics of the #Cmgr?

thatgirlmegan  Goals prob involve increasing awareness & fundraising, building volunteer base

andymci Donations, donations, donations

AlexKStevens Measuring website traffic, social media growth and interaction rates. Goal: Build a supportive community!

sue_anne At my previous job, metrics were pretty similar to other cmgr with a NP-twist – growth in#s, growth in email subs, donor growth

EvanWatkins83   Getting your org out there and increasing awareness for your cause and connecting members of your network!

justinisaf  Build a community of evangelists who really give a damn. Everything else comes from that. Measure the stuff before donations

DanKlamm  It depends, but I think the goals should ultimately be tied to offline goals of the org – event attendance, fundraising, etc.

dschotthoefer  Donation conversions via social media – Inbound Traffic via Social – Extended donor lifecycles due to relationship nurturing

JessieMinalga  help carry out an organization’s mission, coordinate objectives, strategies, and goals to manage efficient well-run projects

comfactscom:  Metrics: How much the content is shared, because the more people that know about the NPO the better.

i_robin  Goal: to foster an intense Community participation around product development. Metrics: forum; population, responsiveness

JessieMinalga  User generated content, house file size growth, mentions, supporter involvement

JPedde: “Topic brings me, community makes me stay, and THEN donate.”

erob1   @prtini gives great examples of metrics for NPs in this post http://t.co/wcteVpbP


TheCMgr Q4) Outside of social media, what are some of the activities a non-profit #cmgr gets involved in?

djfanco Sometimes you want people to check in at your blood drive, marathon, beach clean up because you want more awareness of your cause.

AlexKStevens  Graphic design, marketing, fundraising, volunteer management. EVERYTHING! That’s what nonprofits are about. Team work.

EvanWatkins83  I help with event planning and production as well as media opportunities for senior staff

rhogroupee  For some of the NPs I work with, cmgr is not even called cmgr; it’s just someone with affinity for social.

AlexKStevens @rhogroupee My title is “development associate” but all things social and community fall to me

leapingwoman organizing offline community events and attending related events. speaking at conferences.


TheCMgr Q5) What are the best resources for keeping on top of nonprofit news, policies, and trends?

rhogroupee One of my fave resources:http://t.co/kkrljc4J

EvanWatkins83  It all depends on your industry, we have 5 academy themes Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Engineering, IT, and Health Sciences

EvanWatkins83 So I have to keep up on what’s happening in all 5 areas, especially what’s happening with #STEM education

leapingwoman  @nten (Nonprofit Technology Network), @TechSoup@kanter great places to start

leapingwoman  also #commbuild chat 10-11 PT on Tuesdays, #nptech hashtag, & i have a twitter list@leapingwoman/nonprofits-nptech

scottmoore  i used to read http://t.co/ZEQKyE5Jfor background on NP org issues. More meta than directly practical

This digest was taken from a #cmgrchat transcipt of 531 tweets that took place on August 1, 2012.  Special thanks to April Sonsona (@Aprils_Pen) for being the guest moderator on this chat, who has worked on the social team for @CDCemergency.

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.

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