I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Association of Junior Leagues International‘s Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. At the conference my talks were on using Social Media for recruiting new members, retaining existing members, and promoting the excellent work of the organization does. One talk was on the Basics of Using Social Media for Non Profits, the other on Implementing Social Network Strategies.
One of the stories I heard there speaks to exactly the way that I believe all this new social networking technology can be used. In one of my sessions, a woman from the Junior League in a mid-western city mentioned that on her way to a new-member recruiting meeting, she changed her Facebook status. She wrote, “Heading to the Junior League recruiting meeting, contact me if interested or go to website” (with the actual website listed.)
From this 30-second action, done on her Blackberry, she got ten inquiries. From these inquiries, the Junior League in her area brought in three new members. That’s a ten-second per member recruiting return on investment of time. There was no cost. The best part of her story was when she said she told her board, “If you had all done this simple action and changed your Facebook status, imagine how many more members we could have had.”
This doesn’t mean I’m saying Facebook status is the new advertising or a substitute for your regular outreach. Certainly, your mileage will vary. But it is a clever way to use something people do every day to positively promote a good cause.
A different group of women at the conference told me that they keep a blog for their League, and update it 2-3 times a week. They found that this simple process was enabling them to avoid what they said was hundreds of e-mails, every week. Plus, people were attending events more often, and they credit this to the regular messaging and communication. Even though they also have a regular newsletter, the blog is helping them to get their communications out quickly and broadly.
Often, I hear people say, “I don’t have time to spend on Facebook, I don’t have time to write a blog”, or “I don’t have time to learn how that stuff is done.” It is real-life stories like these that show the advantage of using just a short amount of time to get a very large result.
Finally, to the point that “I don’t have time to learn how these networks work, or how this stuff is done” – ok, you don’t have to. But don’t block it. You’re a leader – enable one of your trusted people to do the communication for your organization, with regular reports and feedback so you know what’s working and what isn’t. Let them help you understand as much as you can. While you may not use these tools, your up-and-coming future members will be using them, and your success depends on communicating with your constituency where they are, in the manner in which they want to get that message.
Send me your success stories in the comments of this post.