Are You Listening? The Importance of Social Monitoring for a Stronger Nonprofit Brand | npENGAGE

Are You Listening? The Importance of Social Monitoring for a Stronger Nonprofit Brand

By on Jul 24, 2013


Listening to how your nonprofit is portrayed in the marketplace is a critical component of your overall marketing and communication strategy.  The market’s perception of your organization may be very different than what you think it is or what you want it to be – you must take control of your nonprofit’s story, message and brand so that you can help shape the perception of your nonprofit’s brand.

 “You are a brand whether you like it or not….you’re going to leave some impression in a person’s mind [and] it’s your choice whether you want to actively manage that impression or whether you want them to come to their own conclusions of what they think about you.”

–Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

You may think your nonprofit communicates initiatives and priorities clearly, while constituents see something totally different. Listening will help you understand the way your nonprofit is portrayed in the market and show you opportunities for change that will improve the way your nonprofit tells its story.

Step One:  Lay the Groundwork

  1. Download this listening GUIDE to help you organize your thoughts (Thanks @chadnorman for this helpful resource!)
  2. Understand the key words that describe your organization using Google Analytics keywords report, key terms from your mission statement and/or a simple team brainstorm.
  3. Clearly define your competitors and how they try to differentiate themselves – what words do they use to describe what they do?
  4. Clearly define your nonprofit’s story, including your mission and key differentiators.

Step Two:  Implement Listening Tools

Google Alerts:  When your chosen keywords, phrases or your brand name is mentioned, Google will send you an alert.

Socialmention: allows you to track and measure what people are saying about your organization across the web’s social media landscape in real time. SocialMention monitorsSeesmic 100+ social media properties directly.

Seesmic:  A dashboard that lays out all social activity – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook,  Foursquare (conversations, comments, feedback) regarding your brand and keyword/phrases in real time in a one-screen format.

Step Three:  Listen

What are people saying about your organization?

Who are your ambassadors (those who advocate for your cause)?

Who speaks negatively about your organization?

How are people responding to your social activities?

What inspires people to act?

What are your competitors doing?

Step Three:  Take Action!

Once you understand the perception, you can start to make decisions on how to affect the way the market views your organization.  Answering all social feedback, positive and negative, is a great start to set the record straight or steer the conversation.  However, understanding opportunities for website improvements, online storytelling, eCommunication and overall brand messaging will all help you begin to take control of your online brand across all channels of communication, ensuring consistency, clarity and a unified brand experience for your nonprofit.

So, start listening and really see what people are thinking.  Knowledge is power, and listening is the start to the learning process.

What have you heard about your organization through monitoring that surprised you?


Kelley Jarrett has built her professional career around a combined passion for creating compelling marketing strategies and helping nonprofits achieve optimal mission impact. Prior to her current role as head of marketing for Blackbaud Nonprofit Solutions, Kelley served in many service-oriented positions at Blackbaud as a solutions consultant, solutions engineer, and in customer success leadership, learning first-hand of the challenges and opportunities nonprofits face, and helping to create solutions for success. Kelley enjoys balancing her home life, living near the beach in Charleston, SC as a wife and mother to 2 independent girls, with her passion for social good, both at Blackbaud and as a Board Director of Palmetto Goodwill.

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