Planning on volunteering in community relations/PR role at a local non-profit during my last year of undergrad, any insight or experience on revamping social media and website for a non-profit?

Specific key performance indicators would be something like, increased followers, engagement, clicks to website from social channels. Simply more engaging organic content and more aesthetically pleasing?

Thanks all! I really appreciate any answers or resources. I think this website is a great idea!

4) Help ensure your colleagues at the nonprofit understand that all social media is not created equal. Connecting accounts (although seemingly a gold star good idea) isn't a best practice— except for when it comes to monitoring them and reviewing cross pollinated data sets. Moreover most audiences follow organizations on multiple mediums and look for different content on different channels. So, give their people what they want and you'll be the next Katie Ledecky, sort of.

5) Confirm you have a brand strategy and style guide. Sidebar: despite an old and incredibly popular ancient myth, a logo is not a brand and a brand is not a logo. Neither is a Wordpress template. Standards are important and audiences notice inconsistency. Life will be a helluva lot easier if you've got a brand bible or guiding document to use as a resource to make content and design decisions against. If you don't have this, I'd suggest you start here. Confirm who the nonprofit is, who they aren't and your website building life won't be cake-walk easy, but it will surely be better.

6) Know your audience - not the nonprofit's stakeholders, but the nonprofit you're working with specifically. How tech-savvy are they? Is there design expertise on staff? Is there a programmer? All these decisions determine if you code from scratch or use a template based program like squarespace ,as example. (Note- our firm uses squarespace for client sites and we've found it to be really user-friendly.) Most importantly, focus on sustainability. And no, I'm not talking about recycling programs. I'm talking about making sure that once your internship is over, that this site and any social media plans and programming you've put in place can live on without you. That the expertise has been built within the nonprofit. That the strategy you've designed can actually be implemented. Because strategy only works when it's used and not siting in a lonely inbox wait to be implemented. Because literally nothing except missing the express 6 train is worse than that.

7) Try to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish during your internship to make it valuable both to you and to the nonprofit. Having managed several internship programs and been an intern a billion years ago myself, I completely understand what it's like and that literally everyone is hoping to do two things: 1) connect and 2)contribute. But not just connect with anyone at the water cooler (do those still exist??) or contribute by filling papers into oblivion — no, no, at least from my experience, all my former intern students wanted to MEANINGFULLY impact something and grow their portfolio and their network. Make sure this happens for you and everyone's happy. Kind of like that Pharrell song. So, that.

Hope this was moderately helpful and best of luck with this exciting project! Let us know how it goes!


Thank you for the extremely detailed and thought out advice! I enjoy how it is sort of a roadmap of step by step of things to be thinking about and planning ahead. I'm still diving into the world of digital marketing so I have yet to be working on a client from start to finish like this! Also I appreciate the references and humor thrown in throughout :). I will DEFINITELY follow up once things get rolling.

You're amazing!

Matt - great to hear and glad you found it both helpful and not boring to read. Keep me posted on how things turn out! -Sarah

Hey Matt!
Congrats on your internship — if this nonprofit it like most I've worked with, they will a) really need and b) be very grateful for your help! I'm in transit so forgive the iPhone typos, but here are a few key takeaways when building a website and revamping social from my days as a nonprofit communications exec that may or may not be useful. This comes in two posts because well, it just does.

1) Prior to building or revamping anything, audit your current practices (competitors too) and understand what's working and what's not through an environmental scan and determine what your GOALS AND OBJECTIVES are and make them... wait for it... MEASURABLE. (Most skip this step and then regret it later as you'd expect.) You're on track to start with asking things like what Chris suggested above — what content is performing well, why, who's your target demo, what mediums (mobile/desktop) and format are people engaging with most (long-form, GIFS, etc),what's the nonprofit's main objective (find donors? disseminate resources?etc.). After you know what's working, and what's not, then you'll need to focus on #2 below:

2) Answer the SO WHAT question. Sure increased likes, social shares and website visits all seem positive, but you shouldn't be impressed with scattered data points and generically tellable increased visibility success stories — try to focus on instead on measurable results. Did the action deliver on your desired objectives? Can you measure its influence? What was its impact on bottom line? Most nonprofits are beholden to whomever funds them so ensuring your web and social build energy is spent delivering on mission and on performance metrics would be a solid idea.

3) Follow the 80/20 rule. Most content on social should be "pre-proven" to perform BEFORE you post it. You're not looking to throw hail mary's at your audience in hopes you connect with them like Aaron Rodgers did (once), so review your data, understand what performs and what doesn't and evaluate and trend-track it over time. You'll spend your resources (paid posts etc) more efficiently and effectively and that's all kinds of other "e" words, mainly EXCELLENT, for all parties involved.

Hey Matt -

I can provide some insight on how to tackle increasing followers and engagement from social channels. If you're not familiar yet, you'll want to become a master at the analytics tools that big social networks provide.

* Facebook:

* Twitter:

Those two tools let you see the reach and engagement of your posts. From there, figure out what pieces of content drive more clicks to your landing page, more impressions, and more post engagements. In my experience, these three things are often at odds with one another (e.g. a funny GIF on FB tends to drive more impressions and likes but very poor CTR to a landing page. In contrast a post that drives a ton of clicks to your landing page doesn't get as many impressions). Figure out ways to spread the content across your day so that you can get an equal mix of post engagement and clicks on your desired action. Also, be sure to schedule your posts in advance and always post and take advantage of trending topics. Social tends to be a channel where you want to ride trends to get more reach which gives you more engagement.

I would also recommend getting an engineer to add the Facebook pixel to your site if they haven't done so already (link: With the FB pixel, you can create custom audiences to target posts to or run audience insights to find out what kind of things your audience likes. With a large enough audience, you can get a ton of information to help inform your content strategy.

Hope that helps, but if you have any more questions, feel free to reply back!

P.S Thanks for the kind words. We're glad you like Huttle, and we're always hear as a resource for you.

Hey Chris!

Thanks for the fast response. I have a pretty good understanding of the basics regarding FB & Twitter analytics. What I'm thinking is that a non-profit might lack the budget a typical company or business would have to do promoted/paid posts and ad campaigns.

Is it as simple as trial and error? Produce consistent organic content with engaging graphics or a real purpose, and then re-evaluate after x amount of time to see which ones performed best in the different results?


So the challenge with social is that you want to get as much actionable data as quickly as possible on channels that require some time to provide insights (time required for insights is lower if you have a large pool of users). But no matter what, I think there's a few things you can do to try and get data within 1 day:

* FB Analytics and Twitter Analytics are free and aren't limited to just paid campaigns. You can still get impression, like, retweet/share, and follower data for organic posts using those tools

* Upworthy had a great social media trick that I loved. They would target a FB post with some type of copy to San Francisco and then they would target a slightly different version to a city similar to SF (let's say Oakland). They would then take the landing page url (let's say but append different google analytics referral tracking parameters to each like so

With those two URLs, they would drop both into to get two unique urls. Then, they would take the SF one and use it in the SF post and the Oakland one for Oakland. Then, they would wait anywhere from 2-4 hours. Whichever version got the most engagement, they would share it to their entire FB audience. This is a really hacky way to run an a/b test on Facebook without spending any money and significantly reduces the time you need to get data to share with your boss.

* RE: "Produce consistent organic content with engaging graphics or a real purpose" - Social can be a crap shoot, but try and test your copy and approach as much as possible. Think about things you can experiment with on a social post (e.g. time of day, content type, copy length, link or no link, etc.). Play with those variables and be sure to record each variable you're experimenting with. You might not find many winning takeaways, but chances are you'll find one or two nuggets of truth that become really valuable.

Awesome!!! That was a great clarification and couple of ideas you shared Chris. I appreciate the resources and your time.

Any time! Keep us updated on how things go!