Several years ago, it was social media that had nonprofit organizations perplexed. Was it really valuable or just a waste of time and resources already stretched thin?
It’s safe to say as we head into 2014 that most organizations of all sizes have embraced the ability social media has for communicating with our allies, foes and frenemies. What was once seen as the untested wild west of the communications world is now a multi-tiered strategy for honing a message, building a donor base, and getting those who support your cause to absolutely fall head over heels in love with what you’re doing (check out The Gentle Barn to see hard core social media strategy in action!) And when you call in the experts (check out Influence Opinions of Austin, Texas) your social media content can produce the most flexible, moment by moment picture of the way you are engaging with your audience. That means when something is working you can hit it harder. And when it’s not working, you can change it quickly. The real wealth in a social media strategy is in the data it generates about who is actually paying attention.
So what about digital media? Video? Podcasts? Interactive campaigns that drive a message home? Analytics are harder (although not impossible) to define in this realm. And that makes already (financially) stretched organizations a little nervous about making video production a line item in their annual budgets.
This new frontier presents yet another round of complex challenges for nonprofits, yet like social media, a digital media presence is the way. If you don’t use it, you will lag behind others in funding, effectiveness and ultimately in creating change. Relevant video and digital content is more important in today’s market than ever before. After all, what are you going to Tweet? What’s going to grab you fans, friends, likes?
So, once again, NPOs find themselves asking – is it really valuable, and assuming it is, how do we pay for it? How do we leverage it? What do we do with it?
There are as many questions about digital content as there are opinions to answer them, and a huge key to the success of a digital media strategy is bringing in the troops on the front end of a project or campaign. Often times, by the time a nonprofit contacts me about a video for a cause they’re promoting, a campaign their running or funding they’re trying to raise, a lot of valuable time and strategy sessions have gone by without my input. Frankly, that’s a mistake. Having a media team on board from the start of the discussion can absolutely revolutionize what an organization is able to achieve with even limited resources.
I think the good news for nonprofits is that creating digital media strategies is doable. There are ways to target it, pay for it and measure its success. The key is embracing it.
If you’re thinking about adding a media strategy to a project, initiative or grant proposal, let’s have a conversation!