You know they have to be short. But what else makes a good nonprofit Twitter or Facebook update?

As with everything we say and do, we need to start by asking, “What’s the goal?” Or more specifically, what do you want the reaction to be when your tweet or update is read?

I think this boils down to three basic choices in nonprofit social media. You want people to

DO Something. You are calling them to some kind of action.

THINK Something. You are sharing something helpful or educating them.

FEEL Something. You are building rapport by giving them content that makes them laugh, cry, smile, feel included, or whatever. Never discount the value of rapport. As Maya Angelou says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

With your goals in mind, now go to the three G’s of positive social media marketing: Be Genuine, Generous, and Grateful.

Being Genuine

This is where your organizational personality can shine through and you can build up that rapport that makes people love your cause. But it can sometimes be a fuzzy line between giving someone “flavor” versus giving someone “fluff.” Think about whether the post helps your core fans/friends to really understand you better and to see your personality. Avoid the truly meaningless and TMI (too much information) updates.

Being Generous

It’s all about being a helpful human. The story isn’t about you. It’s about being helpful to your supporters, participants, etc. Give them stuff that helps them in some way. This includes resources from other organizations!

Being Grateful

Being grateful is what you do in response to generosity from others. You can say “Thank You” directly or you can go the “actions speak louder than words” way and share a link, retweet, or otherwise pass on information from others who have been kind to you, as a way of saying thanks.

A Few Special Notes on Twitter

  • 140 characters is all you get
  • Leave room for others to retweet and perhaps use a #hashtag (if you use the full 140 characters, they have to edit in order to retweet you)
  • Shorten URLs (e.g. so they don’t hog characters
  • Retweet (RT) – it says a lot about you, both from the content you share and the fact that you are doing it at all.

A Few Special Notes on Facebook

  • Keep it to no more than 4 lines, and 1-2 is better
  • Phrase it so it is  “Like” – able. There is no “Dislike” option yet.
  • Include links, photos, or videos that fans might want to share

We’ll be talking more about online marketing and writing for social media during our webinars in July.

Today on the Virtual Book Tour

I’ll provide regular updates like these at the end of my posts this month . . . watch for prize drawings, free training, book clubs, and more!

Wow, it’s been an exciting 24 hours! We did the official book launch yesterday, and The Nonprofit Marketing Guide hit #1 on the Nonprofit Books list at Amazon, as well as #1 on the Movers & Shakers list, which means the book’s ranking grew faster yesterday than any other book Amazon was selling! We also hit #2 on the Marketing list, second only to The Tipping Point. Thank you so much for your support!

And the Winners Are . . .

Congratulations to Michelle Krebs of Camp Twin Lakes who won a tagline review by Nancy Schwartz at and to Heather Wardle at Seva Canada, who won an Annual All-Access Pass to the webinar series! Michelle and Heather forwarded their book receipts to us at for the drawing.

Buy the book this week, send us your receipt, and you’ll be in the running for quarterly All-Access Passes we are giving away on Friday. (If you already sent us your receipt, you are still in the running.)

Coming Tomorrow . . .

Watch for guest posts at Beth’s Blog and Have Fun – Do Good on Thursday. See what else is on the Book Tour.


P.S. One more thing! Our webinar on Quickie Annual Reports is tomorrow, Thursday, June 3, at 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).