How are you currently using social media in your organization? Maybe you use it to market your organization’s branding, promote programs and events, educate others on the topics you address, or establish and strengthen partnerships.
Have you ever thought about using social media to find grants or to help you win more grants? Social media can be a great tool to strengthen your grant finding and grant writing. Yet, many organizations haven’t considered how they can use social media in this capacity. This post will walk you through 5 easy ways you can use social media to find and win more grants.
FOLLOW THE RIGHT ORGANIZATIONS
First things first, be sure to follow your partners, similar organizations, national organizations that work on the issues you address, and current and potential funders on all appropriate social media platforms. These platforms may include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Following like-minded organizations and funders is the best way to get real-time updates from the different organizations in your network.
Your partners will most often post information about upcoming events, organizational changes, programs and services, and community needs. Keeping up with your partners’ activities may help you better identify grants to which you could co-apply. Your partners may also share funding opportunities that would be a perfect fit for your organization.
Following current and potential funders will provide you with a wealth of insight to support your grant finding. Funders are most often going to post about three things:
- Current and upcoming grants. Following funders’ social media accounts will ensure you’re the first to know about open grant opportunities.
- Their grantees’ accomplishments. Pay close attention to the stories funders share about their grantees’ accomplishments. These accomplishments are clearly important to the funder and understanding them will help you better tailor your approach if you submit a grant proposal.
- Issues and solutions. Funders also share information about current issues they care about and solutions they support. Again, this will give you greater insight on their priorities and help you tailor your grant proposals.
INCREASE YOUR ENGAGEMENT
The whole purpose of social media is to be social. So, once you’ve followed similar organizations and funders, it’s time to increase your engagement with them by liking, mentioning, retweeting, and sharing their posts.
Engaging with partners’ social media pages is a great way to strengthen your connections and build a sense of camaraderie and trust. This improved goodwill may keep your organization at the top of their mind the next time they see a grant opportunity that’s a good fit for you. They may also be more likely to consider you as a grant co-applicant if you’ve been consistently showing support for their efforts. Additionally, your engagement on their social media pages will increase your chances of being discovered by potential individual, corporate, or foundation donors.
Engaging with funders’ social media pages can ensure funders are aware of the great work you’re doing. Engagement will also indicate that your organization is aligned with their priorities and approaches. Once you’re on a funder’s radar, you may be invited to apply for a grant or may simply be recalled by a reviewer after you submit your grant proposal.
Increased engagement may also help you put your grant finding efforts on autopilot. All social media platforms have a unique algorithm that determines what you see and what alerts you receive. Whenever you engage frequently with certain types of posts (e.g., open grant opportunities), the social media platform will start to show you similar content more often. You may also start to get alerts about posts the platform thinks you’ll be interested in. This will ensure you don’t miss any great grant opportunities or other important announcements from partners or funders.
POST HIGH QUALITY CONTENT CONSISTENTLY
Engaging with partners’ and funders’ pages is important but you also want to give these organizations a reason to engage with your page. The best way to do this is to post high quality content consistently. Here are just some of the things you might share in your posts:
- Data showing the need for your organization
- Program or service updates
- Volunteer opportunities
- Job openings
- Funding needs
- Non-partisan advocacy for solutions to the issues your organization addresses
Sharing high quality content will inspire dialogue among your followers and will make you more visible to potential funders.
Whatever you choose to share, be sure to create text and images that are concise and visually appealing. These techniques will make your posts more reader friendly. Also, be consistent in your posting schedule. To stay consistent, use a social media management tool such as HootSuite, Post Planner, Tweetdeck, or Facebook’s scheduling feature. All these tools allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, which is a great way to free up time for other tasks (such as grant writing! 😊). Additionally, a scheduling tool will help you keep track of what has been posted and which posts generated the most interest and engagement.
SHARE ALL YOUR SUCCESSES
In addition to sharing great content, you’ll want to share all your successes. These posts are possibly the most important types of posts when you’re trying to find and win more grants. Sharing client, community, or organizational success may instill confidence in potential funders that you’re the best one for their funds. Consider highlighting achievements such as:
- Improvements in community outcomes. If your organization addresses a community outcome that’s improving, highlight that success! You may not be able to take credit for all the improvement, but your organization has certainly contributed to it. This shows funders you’re invested in your community and working collectively with others to improve outcomes.
- Client or participant success stories. Highlight the ways you’ve helped clients or participants succeed. This will help others better understand your organization’s impact. These stories are also a very powerful way to compel potential funders to support your organization.
- Milestones. Celebrate any organization milestone, such as anniversaries, new employees, number of clients, etc. You can even celebrate when you reach 100, 250, or even 500 social media followers!
- Followers. Create a post expressing your gratitude for your followers or host a free giveaway. These posts generate a lot of engagement, which can increase your organization’s visibility among a more diverse audience.
- Funders. Highlight your funders by sharing the recent grants you were awarded! These posts serve several purposes. First, a public display of gratitude (if the funder is okay with that) is a good way to strengthen your relationship with funders. This may increase your chances for future funding. Second, if your funder requires public announcements, these posts may serve as part of your requirements. Again, this may increase future funding opportunities by staying compliant with current grant requirements. Finally, these posts show other funders that you are well-regarded by their colleagues, which may encourage them to give as well.
BROADEN YOUR (VIRTUAL) NETWORK
Once you master social media basics, you can start using it to connect with individuals and groups working on similar issues. You can connect with others by adding colleagues to your network or by joining professional groups. Some examples include connecting with other nonprofit professionals and groups, board members, local and state coalitions, and federal organizations. Connecting with others individually and through groups introduces your organization to others who may share grant opportunities with you or connect you with potential funders.
Managing social media pages may seem tedious and cumbersome but it can produce a huge return on your investment. By sharing important organization updates and successes and engaging with partners and funders, you’ll increase your visibility, identify grant opportunities quicker, and increase your chances for funding.
What is your current social media strategy? Is there room for improvement? I hope this post has shown the importance of using social media for your organization. By using these simple tips, you’ve placed yourself one step closer to finding and winning more grants!
Until next time!