A new report offers advice to small organizations on how to manage the time and costs associated with social-media programs.
“The challenge, especially for the greater than 1 million smaller organizations with tight budgets and limited staff, is how to use scarce resources most effectively to reap the benefits,” says the report by the Rita Allen Foundation and the Bridgespan Group.
The 10-page report, “Tweeting For a Better World: Essentials of Social-Media Strategy for Smaller Nonprofits,” is one product of the foundation’s work to help six grantees use social networks wisely and includes lessons from their approaches.
Small nonprofits could spend 10 to 34 hours on social media a week as a starting point, the report says. For an organization that hopes to be effective in social media, keeping up with Twitter and Facebook accounts could take a minimum of 25 to 50 percent of one full-time staff member’s time, according to the report.
And while nonprofits can often use free tools like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics to measure the results of their work, not everything is free. A social-media consultant can cost a small nonprofit as much as $13,000 for a three-month contract.
As a result, the report says, small organizations need to have measurable goals when they create social-media programs and allocate resources carefully to make sure it can meet those goals.
One way organizations can focus their work is to select a type of supporter they want to reach and then study those people, asking them what they want to see on social media and what networks they use. Armed with that information, they can figure out how to reach others.