For foundations — like The Patterson Foundation — and other funders, social media channels are becoming integral tools to share, learn and connect. But, according to a report by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, few grantees actually participate in and use social media of their funding foundations.
So why aren’t grantees clicking the Like buttons of their funders? The report cites a few reasons for this, including that grantees ‘just don’t know’ if funders are using social media.
I find this interesting, but not that shocking. If you think about it, the vast majority of grantees are likely worrying more about finding the next source of funding, focusing on programs and are busy executing their own social media strategies (maybe). They may not be seeing the benefits.
While this may be true, funders and grantees alike are missing great opportunities.
Eager to Engage - While foundations are not known as early adopters of social media, we witnessed standing-room-only attendance at sessions we presented at both the Council on Foundations annual meeting and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading Communities Network Conference. These two anecdotal examples showcase an appetite to engage.
Mutually Beneficial - One of The Patterson Foundation’s big values is to consistently share what we are learning (what works and what doesn’t) through our work with our partners. Social media is a great vehicle to share those lessons and engage our partners and their networks in these conversations. Foundations can and should lead the way to invite and remind partners to participate.
Leverage Networks - We view every meeting and discussion as an opportunity to remind partners that our social media channels are vehicles to help promote their meaningful work and leverage those in our own network who may be passionate about what our partners are accomplishing.
Share Progress - As partners keep us informed of milestones, we share and create conversation around those milestones on our own networks and encourage partners to comment as well. (Partners will care about what content you (as a funder) share if they know their accomplishments will be highlighted.)
TPF social media analytics show we are achieving our goals of connecting not only with partners, but with other sectors and thought leaders. Year-to-date comparisons should increases of over 100% in both activity and followers.
If you’re a funder, tell us what you’re doing to make your social media channels accessible to grantees. Grantees and partners, share your reasons for or against engaging with funders on social media!