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Nonprofits: Own Your Social Media Audience

The time to act is now

Social media is both a necessary and perilous tool for the social sector, an engine of awareness, engagement and fundraising that also perpetuates division and misinformation and faces a looming existential reckoning.

More than 50 percent of nonprofits have indicated that they will increase their social media budget this year—the most of any digital channel—while Giving Tuesday continues to experience steady social-fueled growth, by some projections due to eclipse $600M in 2020. Yet, the current landscape of social media is alarming and ominous. Facebook is a known tool for election interference, and Tim Kendell, a former Facebook executive in charge of monetization, admits the company intentionally made the platform “as addictive as cigarettes. "Social media preys on the most primal parts of your brain," he explained, in his prepared remarks to Congress; "The algorithm maximizes your attention by hitting you repeatedly with content that triggers your strongest emotions—it aims to provoke, shock, and enrage." Kendall said.

Nonprofits must get attention. But what must we do when that attention is being captured on our behalf by destructive, exploitive algorithms that manipulate our emotions and sow division?

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