I received an email from Jason Outenreath, Executive Director of Cineaid, a non-profit that teaches filmmaking to at-risk youth in Austin, Texas. Outenreath mentioned that it is often difficult to compete in a crowded non-profit world. This blog is dedicated to Jason Outenreath and Cineaid, but has tips that can be applied to any school or non-profit.
1) Be Useful In The Community At Large: Cineaid’s work teaching about film is inherently invaluable to at-risk youth, but through social media the non-profit can amplify not just its voice, but also the greater Austin community. I would recommend that Cineaid use Twitter and Facebook to follow other non-profits that also serve their client population, as well as writers who cover stories for media outlets in Austin. By sharing, retweeting, and tagging others, Cineaid will position itself as a useful, caring voice that profoundly knows the intricacies of Austin and the people who live there. If Cineaid consistently shares articles, comments on news, and promotes others, its name will begin to really stand out in Texas and beyond.
2) Leverage Supporters To Increase Your Social Media Reach: At first glance Cineaid doesn’t have thousands of followers and a well-established social media presence, however the non-profit is sponsored by well known companies with a combined social media reach of roughly 170,000 followers. Each company supports Cineaid because they believe in the work and also want to be recognized for their good will. Cineaid is in a position to regularly tell the world how wonderful their sponsors are. The non-profit can make a point of creating direct relationships with the PR people at their sponsor companies so as to coordinate social media updates. Alternatively, Cineaid can consistently send out tweets/updates that various sponsors would find appealing to share with a larger audience. Either way, Cineaid’s message and incredible work will slowly but surely be spread to many more people.
3) Be Useful To Other Non-Profits And Individuals: There is little science to explain the benefits of altruism, but doing pro-bono work always comes back to help an organization. Perhaps some of Cineaid’s filmmakers can assist a local elementary school in shooting a promotional video, or once a month Cineaid could do “Filmmaking in the Park,” allowing individual community members to help shoot a film or learn about the process. This type of outreach creates further visibility, while expanding the positive brand that is Cineaid.
4) Own Your Success, Have A Press Section On Your Website: If your non-profit is like Cineaid, you have at least one dynamic leader like Jason Outenreath. Outenreath has a strong digital media footprint complete with interviews, film trailers, and other positive mentions all over the Internet. Why not combine those links with Cineaid’s media coverage into one central place on the website? Success leads to success, press leads to more press. When vetting a non-profit, media loves to see what others have written. By having all of the content compiled in one place Cineaid will be better able to market itself.
5) Create A Social Media Ambassador System: Social media ambassadors are people who are passionate about the work that Cineaid does. Every good non-profit already has social media ambassadors in their midst. These are people that periodically “like” your updates on Facebook, occasionally retweet your tweets, and perhaps mention you every once in awhile in a blog post. The goal of a social media ambassador system is to shape these individual musicians into an orchestra (or trio, depending on what is needed) that can perform together for your organization at any given moment in time. A thoughtfully created ambassador system can generate awareness of your work, raise funds, cultivate volunteers, ensure attendance at your events, and spread thank yous far and wide. A well-crafted social media ambassador system will significantly expand Cineaid’s reach, and allow it to do quality PR/marketing on a limited budget. To read my previous article on creating a social media ambassador system, please visit: https://danielwpolk.org/2016/03/03/5-tips-for-creating-a-social-media-ambassador-system/
PS-I didn’t put this in my tips, but Cineaid can gain more followers on Twitter by systematically following hundreds of nonprofit friendly accounts everyday, inevitably a chunk of those will follow them back, adding to their social media reach.
To learn more about Cineaid please visit: http://cineaid.org
For an interview with Jason Outenreath please visit: http://www.lightscameraaustin.net/jason-outenreath-september-2015.html
What is something that your non-profit is trying to figure out? Send me an email!