The amount of time that a nonprofit can invest in mobile and social media depends on capacity. Small nonprofits that are not in a position to hire a part- or full-time social media manager should limit themselves to one or two social networks and place the highest priority on their website, email communications, and online fundraising campaigns. Mobile and social media are powerful, but when implemented on a small scale, the power is overshadowed by other more traditional online campaigns. Often small nonprofits try to be active on more than two social networks by sharing the responsibility among staff. While this is possible, it does require a concerted effort and cooperation among all staff that content be distributed effectively and consistently. There still should be one person who is given the directive to research and then communicate best practices as they evolve to other participating staff.
Medium-sized nonprofits at this point should be considering hiring a part-time new media manager or at the very least examining how job descriptions could be altered so that the communications or development staff who are currently managing mobile and social media campaigns can be given more time to fine-tune their skill set and experiment with new tools. The argument against doing this is that budgets are too tight and inflexible. Although this is a valid argument, where there is a will, there is a way. This book has laid out very clearly how mobile and social media will soon surpass PC communications and fundraising, and within the next decade it’s very likely that print communications and fundraising will be used only intermittently in niche awareness and fundraising campaigns. Moore’s law concludes that 20,000 years of technological advancement now occurs every 100 years. Applied to nonprofit technology, the speed of advancement now doubles every two years. Your nonprofit is going to need a new media manager who can keep up with pace of change in mobile and social media as well as with the tools that haven’t been invented yet, but will likely affect nonprofits in profound ways just a few years from now.
Large nonprofits should have in place or be in the process of hiring a full-time new media manager. The volume of their website traffic, the size of the e-newsletter list and donor database, and their brand recognition all contribute to the argument that not investing in a new media manager would be counterproductive. The math alone of converting large numbers of website visitors, e-newsletter subscribers, and donors into social network followers and mobile alert subscribers is reason enough to hire a skilled new media manager who can then use mobile and social media to inspire donors to give more and more often and to enlist supporters to get more involved with your nonprofit. Some early adopter large nonprofits are hiring multiple new media management staff—one or two to manage social media campaigns, another to spearhead mobile efforts, and yet another to pioneer the rise of smart TV. The early adopter nonprofits have almost a decade of experience in social media and at least three or four years in mobile technology. The success of their mobile and social media campaigns has resulted in a significant shift in communications and fundraising priorities and thus budgets.
To make it relatively easy to craft a new media manager job description, bullet-pointed below is an estimate of how much time mobile and social media require. It does not include the time necessary for managing a website or email communications which ranges from five to forty hours weekly depending on your organization’s size. If your new media manager is also meant to manage the website and email communications, then the times given below are in addition to the hours allotted weekly for website management and email communications. Based on the content and social networks that you have chosen to make a priority in your content strategy, you can adjust current job descriptions or craft a new one for hiring a new media manager:
- Blogging (4 hours): To write an average of two short posts weekly which includes the time necessary to find, edit, and insert photos and integrate video.
- Facebook (4 hours): To post and schedule status updates four to six times weekly, respond to messages and comments, and monitor insights.
- Twitter (4 hours): To tweet and retweet an average of four times daily, to respond to messages and mentions, to organize followers into lists, and to strategically follow others.
- Google+ (4 hours): To share updates three to four times weekly, +1 the posts of others, and participate in Google+ Communities.
- LinkedIn (4 hours): To share two to three posts weekly, maintain your personal profile, and participate in LinkedIn Groups.
- YouTube (1 hour weekly): To upload video, create playlists, subscribe to other channels, and study the video campaigns of other nonprofits.
- Pinterest (3 hour weekly): To pin or repin images twice daily and maintain your boards.
- Instagram (3 hours weekly): To share one to two images or videos daily and like the photos of others.
- Tumblr (3 hours weekly): To post or reblog one to two times daily and like the posts of others.
- Miscellaneous activities (4 hours weekly): To create Facebook invitations, promote and host quarterly tweet chats and Google+ Hangouts, report live, and participate in awareness day campaigns.
- Create graphics and visual content (3 hours weekly): To design branded images, infographics, video, online presentations, and social network banners.
- Research (2 hours weekly): To investigate trends in nonprofit technology and monitor breaking news and current affairs.
- Feedback (1 hour weekly): To track and report on success.
To embrace all the job duties listed above, you’d need to hire a full-time new media manager. Even though 61 percent of nonprofits spent more time than previously utilizing mobile and social media in 2013, less than 2 percent invested more than 21 hours a week. Thus, if your nonprofit is not willing or able to hire a part- or full-time new media manager, then you have to select carefully the social networks that your nonprofit can realistically and effectively maintain. For years social media has been considered free, so executive staff did not make necessary financial investments and consequently many communications and development staff now find themselves with many of the above job duties added to their list of job responsibilities, but without official recognition. This is an unsustainable approach to mobile and social media that puts a great strain on many communications and development staff.