Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Effective Social Strategy = Foundation Success

As a graduate student at Northwestern focusing on foundation marketing, most managers know their corporate and consumer donors are using social media to discuss their passions, interests and needs.  They also know their foundation does not have an effective strategy to turn these discussions into donations and new volunteers.  This blog will begin to address this social media challenge

To create a successful social media strategy, a foundation must understand what outcomes will serve as indicators that they are using social media effectively?

·      Are you tracking new donors?
·      Repeat donors?
·      Fundraising?
·      Communicating your message effectively using the right platforms 

Groundswell  lays out  a  model  that can be used to segment and understand the consumers of the social media. As a foundation, you need to understand the existing and evolving social technographic profiles of your donors, supporters and volunteers to choose appropriate social media and engagement strategies (listening, talking, energizing, helping, embracing). The model also proposes a four-step process for developing a social media marketing strategy - People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology (called POST) 

Below is an explanation of  the process and framework:

P: People
Assess your customers’ social activity. That is current and potential donors, volunteers and beneficiaries.

O: Objectives
Decide what you want to accomplish. Is it increasing your brand awareness or donations? Recruiting volunteers? Reaching out to your beneficiaries?

S: Strategy
Strategy is a plan for how relationships with donors, volunteers and beneficiaries will change depending on what you are trying to accomplish (objectives). The strategy must be a long-term relationship that will keep growing over time.

T: Technology
Once you decide on the people, objective and strategy, then you can figure out if building a blog or starting your own community on Facebook or Twitter is the right thing for your organization. In essence, fit the technology choices to your particular people, objectives and strategy.

Consider the action points below to create the winning social media strategy for your foundation.

1) Listen to the groundswell - gain insights from what is being written and said

2) Talk to the groundswell - create  blogs and communities to engage conversation

3) Energize the groundswell - charge up your best online stakeholders

4) Embrace the groundswell - include stakeholders as collaborators 

You can also monitor the social chatter  using a free online tool Social Mention.

For more information on how social media can define success for your foundation click here

By: Farah Chaudhry
Northwestern University MSJ - Media Strategy and Leadership 

About Me: 

I am currently perusing my Masters at Northwestern University in Media Strategy and Leadership. My goal is to work with leading organizations to enhance media strategies and tactics. I am a Socialite, Change Maker, Artist, and Optimist  
Having worked on the marketing team at Camerapix, one of Africa’s oldest independent media production companies for 4 years, I joined the management in 2008 to help found Africa 24 Media, Africa’s first online video agency, in Nairobi, here i managed editorial  teams and global sales for the fast-growing agency, executive-produced award-winning documentaries and project-managed the show Africa Journal for Thomson Reuters.

You can also follow me on LinkedIn | Twitter


  1. Thanks for sharing this great information ... very interesting and we will be thinking about the Groundswell Concept for our business ... would love to hear more on your thoughts and will look forward to your next blog ...

    1. I am glad you found this interesting. I will be happy to offer any advise on how to best utilize the Groundswell theory. Please send me your email address on "farahtahar2012@u.northwestern.edu" and i will get back to you with more details.

  2. The power of social media is massive but sadly being a Kenyan, how we use the social media here still does not have a thought process behind it, Someone once said that Kenyans are Proactive and not Reactive when it comes to use of social media and i fully agree. Loved the article and how you clearly explain what determines the success of great social media strategy.

    Great read and well written.

    1. Thanks for your comment Natasha, The groundswell Theory is very simple and can be used anywhere...

      All you do is ... Start by listening to your audience- then create the right messaging for them and deliver it using the right channel...

      I hope you can take this concept and use it at your organization.