Is Your Program Connected To Your Constituency?

While reading a blog post on The Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Cure I began to think about non-profit branding and marketing as it relates to pro bono. In that post, Kivi Miller[1] discusses how Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s failure to respond to the social media uproar following their recent break with Planned Parenthood has unwittingly created a larger image problem than they may have anticipated.[2] I wondered what lessons the pro bono community could learn and how we could use such lessons in our approach to branding and social media.

Recently I wrote a piece about Social Media and Pro Bono highlighting the importance of using social media as a cost effective tool for marketing and potential fundraising. With the effect social media has had on this issue it seems even more imperative that pro bono programs look not only at opportunities they miss by failing to have a social media presence, but also at the pitfalls of failing to interact online with their community.

Programs can learn a great deal about their client base and volunteer pool through social media interaction. When a decision or policy implemented by an organization is either fruitful or unpopular, often it can be discovered and handled more promptly through social media. Although the Komen/Planned Parenthood issue is obviously a much larger scale issue than what may befall the average pro bono program, it does serve as a clear learning lesson on the importance of being involved with and responsive to your constituency.

Does your program have a social media presence beyond the program website? If so, please share in the Comments some of the benefits and pitfalls you feel have come from using social media.

~Adrienne Packard

[1] Kivi Miller is president of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com and the author of “The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause” (Jossey-Bass, 2010)

[2] It was recently announced that Koman for the Cure has changed its decision regarding funding cuts.

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