How to Add Ambassadors to Your Nonprofit Social Media Strategy

nonprofit social media strategy

Your social media followers are so much more than clicks, retweets and shares. And you could be missing out if you’re not tapping your most engaged users to help reach the goals of your nonprofit social media strategy.

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In the first post in this series, we discussed the benefits of social media ambassadors for your nonprofit, like leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing. In this post, you’ll learn how to add ambassadors to your nonprofit social media strategy by:

  • Setting goals,
  • Creating structure,
  • Identifying the right people,
  • Offering resources and
  • Tracking success.

Set Goals for Your Nonprofit Social Media Strategy

Like any marketing project, your social media ambassador program should help you reach your overall social media goals. For many organizations, these goals boil down to:

  • Fundraising, by funneling followers into a donor program or giving day campaign; and
  • Outreach/Awareness, by promoting events, sharing information and asking for action that moves people to your website.

When adding ambassadors to your nonprofit social media strategy, be sure to identify specific ways that the program can help you reach your goals. This way, you’ll be able to create a structure that works best for your organization and better assess whether or not it’s working.

Create a Program Structure

You’ll need to create some structure depending on how formal you want the program to be and the amount of time and energy you can devote to ambassadors. Since you’re just getting started, I’d recommend targeting a small group of people that know and love your cause. You can also take a bite-sized approach by focusing your ambassadors on a short-term campaign like in this example from the Sequoia Parks Conservancy.

Next, put together a simple volunteer description or ambassador agreement that outlines the goals of the program and sets clear expectations and guidelines for participation. Don’t forget to include what they can expect from your nonprofit in terms of support, training and content ideas. You’ll need a point person to coordinate these efforts, so don’t over-promise!

Internally, brainstorm a list of potential risks and have a plan of action ready. For example, if an ambassador posts something that goes against your privacy policy, your action plan takes the guesswork out of what to do next and helps you consistently enforce your rules.

Identify Users & Reach Out

Your nonprofit social media strategy isn’t limited to people that just happen to follow you one day. Do you have a social media-savvy counterpart at a partner organization that will pitch in? Are there experts and thought leaders you know that would be happy to spread to word?

Launch your social media ambassador program with people that are already in your digital ecosystem. While this doesn’t eliminate the need for training, it is a great initial filter for filling your roster without surprises. Consider recruiting from the following pools of supporters:

  • Active users that you frequently see commenting, sharing and interacting with you on your social media channels
  • Board members, especially those that meet the above criteria
  • Volunteers, even past ones, that want to stay involved and help in a new way
  • Email enthusiasts that reply positively to your campaigns and engage with your news
  • Current corporate sponsors whose own channels also appeal to your target audience
  • Other staff that might not be in a communications role but are passionate, active users
  • Program alumni who want to be cheerleaders and speak personally about their experiences.

When you’re ready, reach out to your potential ambassadors on social media and via email with a program description. Ask if they (or someone they know) might be interested in occasionally donating their Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to your cause. Just 5 people can be enough to get started!

Provide Simple Training Tools

There are a lot of options when it comes to providing resources to your ambassadors, but here’s a good place to start for getting your program up and running:

  • Content guidelines. Include details like specific links and hashtags that you want ambassadors to use as well as a list of things that would be inappropriate.
  • Messaging help. Social media algorithms don’t look favorably on cut-and-paste text since it looks spammy, but a quick reference list with key facts, your mission statement, and some related statistics is a nice tool for keeping people on message.
  • Shareable media. In addition to asking ambassadors to share your posts, offer photos, infographics and video clips that they can easily grab and share on their own.
  • Special email segment. Consider creating an email segment with all of your ambassadors. It makes it easy to send campaign updates, exciting news and social media tips.
  • Facebook group. Similar to above, creating a private Facebook group for your ambassador program offers a way to keep the group engaged and sharing with each other. A group makes it easy to share files, give shout-outs to all-star users and help deepen the relationship and affiliation with your cause.

Track the Results

Pre-launch is the perfect time to talk about measurement and gather your baseline data. Looking at the goals for your nonprofit social media strategy, identify at least a couple of metrics that will help you keep track of ambassador activities and the overall impact of the program over time. For example:

You’ll also want to keep track of (and share) ambassador-generated content. Monitoring custom hashtags is a great approach! You can also ask ambassadors to tag you or check-in to your nonprofit on Facebook when posting about your organization.

Lastly, it’s also a good idea to keep track of your ambassadors in your donor database. At the end of the year, you’ll want to know if the program has impacted their giving.

Start Small

Adding ambassadors to your nonprofit social media strategy is a powerful way to boost your content, website and brand by tapping more people to spread the word. Start small to see what works for your organization and moves you closer to your goals.

Upcoming Post: In our last post in this series, we’ll share tips for expanding your program over time, how to show gratitude to digital volunteers and ways to move ambassadors even closer to your cause.

What else do you want to know about recruiting, training and working with social media ambassadors? Looking forward to talking with you in the comments!