Social Media Between Companies, Volunteers and Non-Profits

Last week I was fortunate enough to speak to members of Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta.  CVC is an organization that bridges non-profit organizations and corporations.  Some of the members represent 501c3s of various sizes and the companies range from mid size businesses to massive companies that employ tens of thousands of people.

The meeting was set up like a large ‘speed dating’ exercise.  Every 8 minutes the groups of five to eight people would rotate to the next table.  Each table had its own topic of conversation and my topic was about social media and how to use it so that it’s successful for what they’re trying to accomplish.

While the two hour meeting had many topics and tips, here are the main points that all the organizations had comments on.

Start the conversation

To an extent, most everybody was looking for more ways to engage volunteers or staff.  For Facebook I suggested that they post at different times, uses different modes and be sure to call people out.  If they do a project with Sally Smith, be certain to mention her by name, thanking her for assisting.


Having never worked for a large company I had no idea how popular Yammer is.  It’s an intranet of sorts just for people within the same company.  Every company that I spoke with that was using it loved Yammer.

Establish separate channels

Trey speaking at CVC
Trey speaking at CVC

Most of the companies attending were mid size companies that had their own social media channels.  A couple of the companies were very large and employed tens of thousands of people.  These companies also had philanthropic divisions, in addition to their main business.

I advised the companies to establish separate channels for their charity work.    The companies that already had separate channels said that marketing worked closely with them to promote the non-profit on the corporate social media channels.

If your business is too small for separate channels and Yammer doesn’t work for you then create a Facebook group.  The downside to this group for companies is that your employees may not be able to access it during work hours.

Concerned about ‘bragging’

Some of the organizations were concerned about ‘bragging’ or talking about themselves too much.

I told them about the rule of thumb that suggests talking about yourself once for every six times you comment or talk.  Whatever rule of thumb they wanted to adapt I reminded them that it’s OK to talk about you, but be sure to mix it up.

I made sure to let all the participants know that social media is fun.  The results won’t come automatically, they will take effort and time, but they’ll come eventually.  What do you think?  What advice would you give companies or non-profit organizations trying to rally volunteers?

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