How an Executive Director Uses Social Media For Her Small Nonprofit

Photo by robscomputer

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Social Media for Nonprofits conference in Boston. One of the best presentations was from Julie Nations, executive director of The Ellie Fund, who as you know, won Twive and Receive.

Julie talked about what it was like to launch and manage a social media presence for her nonprofit, which is staffed by herself and two other people.

She started out by sharing the fears and concerns she had about social media, which are shared by most small nonprofits:

  • — Lack of resources to manage social media
  • — Lack of knowledge about which tools to use
  • — Doubt if whether it will work or not
  • — Confusion about how social media fits within a fundraising strategy

Julie went on to share her experience working with Joe Waters and myself as we guided her through planning and implementing the campaign for Twive and Receive.

What The Ellie Fund Does With Social Media

Julie shared a lot of helpful tools and resources, but she also allowed people to see under the hood and take a look at what she’s doing every day on Facebook, Twitter, and their new blog.

  • — On Facebook: Julie monitors page activity everyday, responds to comments, and searches for great content to post on the page. Her content strategy is about appreciating fans, sharing outcomes, and sharing patient stories.
  • — On Twitter: Everyday Julie uses Twitter as a way to drive traffic to their website and blog, and as a way to build relationships by re-tweeting content from other users.
  • — On the Blog: Julie recently launched a blog for the Ellie Fund that will hopefully increase their site’s ability to show up in search, and build their e-mail list.

Below is a deck with more details about what’s working for The Ellie Fund:


How is your org using social media each day?

8 thoughts on “How an Executive Director Uses Social Media For Her Small Nonprofit”

  1. The kicking and screaming you heard was from me as I was dragged into social media by younger members of the association. Though I still don’t see how they will keep in touch with customer (marketing) better, I do know see how I can increase my touch points for the organization to a broader section of the membership and show the younger members (tomorrows leaders) that I am a hip-dude (can I say that?). I did tie our annual award winners to the front page of the web, switching every three weeks, then I tied it to FB and change that every Friday and though the results haven’t made us rich, I do believe that sponsorships will flow easier and dues renewals will rise. So social networking may well work but I sure it will not hurt.

  2. Yvonne C. Hunnicutt

    I too was hesitant about putting one foot in the pool of social media. My role as the Executive Director of a very small human service organization is very simliar to that of Julie and I appreciate the small but mighty steps to increase the awareness and visibility of her organization. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is great! We are utilizing Facebook with our non-profit audience, and uploading photos from this past event to create buzz for this next year. My advice to the newbies in social media… Keep it casual, keep it simple, and only post the most important talking points!

  4. Julie was an amazing and inspiring speaker. I am using The Ellie Fund as a shining example to all small nonprofits who don’t think they can “do” social media. It’s time to stop making excuses and get on board, like Julie says. Thanks for posting, John!

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