How Automated Messaging Can Hurt Your Nonprofit
Many small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations utilize affordable tools designed to streamline communication, including popular tools such as Hootsuite, Constant Contact and Vertical Response.
These tools are a valuable way for organizations to reach people in an efficient and cost-effective manner by allowing them to schedule and deliver email messages, social media posts, and newsletters. This is especially helpful for nonprofits that have extremely limited resources and time. They allow a staff person to schedule many messages at once across different platforms and work more efficiently.
When evaluating the best use of these tools, it is important to assess the most effective way to use them and consider what they communicate to your volunteers. How can these products be utilized best to save your organization time and money? When using them do we see increased or decreased open rates, actions rates, or levels of engagement?
When it comes to social media, if no one at your organization has the time to post social media daily, then these tools are necessary so that you can schedule multiple messages at once. But there are drawbacks to utilizing these products. Based on your pricing, your posts may reflect the tool that you are using. When you schedule a post on Facebook with Constant Contact your fan will see the message is generated by Constant Contact. When you schedule a post on Twitter with Vertical Response your followers will see a #vr4smallbiz hashtag.
As we’ve discussed in this space many times, your social media is your online brand. It reflects your organization’s personality, ethos, and character. What does a heartfelt message about an enthusiastic volunteer or your mission with a hashtag #vr4smallbiz say to your followers?
Many constituents will not pick up on this this but your tech-savvy volunteers will notice that you are not personally sending out your communication. This conveys that your organization is simply broadcasting and not actively engaged in communicating, which will decrease the levels of engagement in this space.
If your organization needs to utilize social media platforms but is unable to allocate time for a staff person to login and send messages daily, these tools can provide valuable support. But if you do have a few minutes each day to post a pre-written message personally, it reflects well on you and your organization. The small use of staff time is worth the increased return on engagement.