Thursday, January 21, 2010

Explaining Why Non-Profits Should Use Social Media in 5 Minutes: The Killer Brownie Bite

My boss came to me last week and asked me to do a social media presentation for our Foundation Board the following week.  I had been waiting for this opportunity, as I want our leadership team to understand why we are using social media and the positive results we are having.  Most, if not all of them, are unfamiliar with social media.  They have heard of Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn but have never used them or taken the time to understand the value of being engaged in any kind of social media networking systems.  I was excited and had some amazing ideas of what I could share. Then I was told,

"You have five minutes."

A five minute presentation.  That's it.  That was all the time I was allocated.  There are day-long conferences on just using Twitter.  There are dozens of hour long webinars that only graze the subject of social media.  I've spoken at conferences and had the same hour long slot where you can only focus on one aspect of a particular platform.  Five minutes? 

There was no time to give a clinic on each form of social media that is out there.  There wasn't even time to given an overview of the most used forms we use at the hospital such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.  I did not want to lose this opportunity but I realized I needed to really focus in on some key reasons why we use social media and then show just an example of our pages.  There would be no time for statistics, demonstrations or much background information.  This was needing to be a snapshot...a nugget...a taste test...a Killer Brownie Bite.

For those of you not familiar with the Killer Brownies at the Dorothy Lane Market, these are without a doubt the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, leave you dying for more brownies.  One full brownie could put you over the edge. One bite is all you need so in the infinite wisdom of the Dorothy Lane Market bakery staff, they have sliced up the Killer Brownies to make "Killer Brownie Bites."  One bite is all you need to be hooked.  That's what I needed to do...give our board a bite.

I decided to focus primarily on why Dayton Children's uses social media.  The background of each network was not as important as the overall reasoning as to why our marketing and development offices decided to embark on using social media.  The concepts are simple and this would be something the board could grasp.

Why Use Social Media?
Reach target audience:  Our target audience is women, ages 18-49. The demographics for social media meet this head on.

Build supporters/constituents:  Our goal is to build relationships, especially in a participatory method
Two-way communication:  Social media gives our constituents, donors, families, supporters, etc. the opportunity to interact with us and tell their story. We can respond to their questions, comments, complaints, suggestions and most importantly, acknowledge that we have heard them.

Educate:  This spans the range from sharing health and safety tips, parenting suggestions, safety recalls, news from the hospital. 

Tell our story: Amazing stories and miracles happen here every day. We want to share that and let the public know that Dayton Children's is a wonderful place to take kids for health and healing.

Fundraise: We use Causes, viral campaigns, e-newsletters, special promotions and are constantly looking for creative ways to be generate new revenue to support the hospital.

Advocacy: There are few better ways to mobilize the community to be advocates for children's health. We have simple ways to allow friends and followers to send letters to legislators expressing their concerns.

Share video testimonials: If a picture tells a thousand words, a video must share a million. Our videos tell the stories of our patients. I dare you not to be moved by these kids.
Connect families, patients, friends, donors, employees: It's about building relationships with people who all care about the same thing--the health and well-being of children. Our community grows every day and our exposure nationally has developed in ways we never imagined. Dayton Children's is recognized nationally for the work that is done here and we attribute some of that new visibility to what we have accomplished by staying active with our use of social media.
My advice to our board will be to look, listen, and then jump in. I will lead them to the sources: or @daytonchildrens

It's a five minute presentation...just enough to give the board a Killer Brownie taste. I know they will be hooked. I bet they stay after to ask me more questions. It never fails.


  1. Wow, you have no idea how much this says. I hope you will post the board's feeback on your 5 minute Killer Brownie presentation!

  2. Great suggestion! I'll post an update and let you know how it goes. I think I should bring the Killer Brownies to the meeting. May help me earn some brownie points (pun intended!)

  3. I remember what you told me when you drug me onto Twitter and I asked how I could possibly say anything in 140 characters or less... you said, "there's something to be said about brevity". You were right! I'd rather have a killer brownie bite than a whole plateful of brussel sprouts!

    Great blog, Beth!

  4. Great analogy! Who wouldn't love a little brownie bite? Thanks for the positive feedback and for posting the link on twitter.