For a nonprofit organization, communication can often be a challenge. We are often so wrapped up in the execution of our mission that we fail at communicating to our donors what the organization is actually doing. We get caught up in the internal workings and processes and miss the mission and impact we make.

That’s why it’s vital to have a solid, overarching plan when it comes to reaching your donors through social media. Here are some tips to get started:

Use social media to your advantage. We live in a day and age where many people use social media as their main source of news, which means we have a lot of potential to reach people with our organization’s message:

The media world has shifted dramatically in the last 10 years, and now people turn to more than the morning paper for their news. Supporters and potential supporters are on Twitter before the sun rises; they read Facebook on the train, and they get real-time notifications from bloggers on issues that matter in their worlds. In short, they are consuming news continuously, from all sorts of sources.  

The good news: You no longer must spend months trying to get coverage from a top-tier media outlet. Today, a story in many different media can bolster your reputation. The growth of hyperlocal and neighborhood news organizations, niche Facebook pages, and bloggers who cover community events are a few examples of outlets worthy of “media relations.”

Develop a message and stick to it. What is your elevator speech when someone asks you what your organization does? In the age of digital communication, attention spans run short, and we need short, compelling messages to reach our audience. Refine your organization’s mission and incorporate it into all your communications.

You don’t need an account on every social media platform. Your organization probably doesn’t have the bandwidth to create original content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram all at the same time. So choose two or three that you are familiar with and your audience is active on, and determine a set number of times per week to post.

Don’t be sporadic in your social media posting. Just like other forms of outreach, your social media needs to be consistent and timely. Post a set number of times a week, adding extra posts for holidays and special events. Make a point to know and appeal to your followers, and to tell stories that appeal and engage them. Incorporate images and video to get greater engagement, and use hashtags to reach people who aren’t yet following your channels.

Social media is a great avenue to reach your donors and ensure that they feel involved in the mission of your organization. It gives you an opportunity to share what your organization is doing, and it gives your donors an opportunity to share your organization’s work with others.