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Is the Right Person Doing Your Nonprofit's Social Media?

Lori Halley 03 February 2010 22 comments

Who handles the social media marketing for your nonprofit? Often, in a small organization, the job falls to the most enthusiastic person — or to the Gen Yer on staff (on the theory that “that generation knows all about this web stuff”) — but wouldn’t it be nice if there were some convenient scoring system to help you pick the right person?

Tom Humbarger has come up with a skills-assessment matrix based on the D.A.R.C. framework suggested by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in their hit marketing book, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

The original framework’s explained in the chapter, “Hiring in the DARC Ages: Are the Right People on Your Marketing Team?” (a free PDF of this chapter is available online) — well worth reading — but in brief, here’s the idea:

D = Hire Digital Citizens
A = Hire for Analytical chops
R = Hire for Web Reach
C = Hire Content Creators

… In baseball, a “five tooled” player is one who can field, throw, hit for average, hit for power, and steal bases—an ideal player! In inbound marketing, an ideal hire is a “four tooled” player: a Digital Citizen who is Analytical, has Web Reach, and who can Create remarkable content. Will it be easy to find D, A, R, and C in spades? Probably not—there just are not a lot of them around yet! If you have a very small business, then you want to try to get as many of these qualities in one person as you can. ~ Halligan & Shah: Inbound Marketing

Tricky to measure, yes, but have a look at Humbarger’s scoring matrix, which he’s been good enough to make available on Slideshare. (What factors strike you as most relevant to your organization’s social media outreach? Anything you would add or change there?)

I thought I was doing okay until that last question about Excel expertise… ;)

Rate your own “inbound marketing” skills —
Based on Humbarger’s scoring matrix, would you hire yourself to market your nonprofit online?


Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 2:02 AM


  • uberVU - social comments said:

    Tuesday, 02 February 2010 at 5:30 PM

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by new_org: Is the Right Person Doing Your Nonprofit's Social Media?: Who handles the social media marketing for your nonprofi... http://bit.ly/cFoZ7j

  • darkdirk said:

    Tuesday, 02 February 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Interesting idea, but too much focus on numbers

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Tuesday, 02 February 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, @darkdirk. What methods would you suggest for figuring out who should take the social media helm?

  • Maggie McGary said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 3:44 AM

    I think this is great, with the exception of the "reach" part. IMHO, how many Twitter followers, Facebook friends or blog subscribers you have is irrelevant at a nonprofit. In fact, I think the more of a "rockstar" you are with focus on numbers, the worse off you'd be, because you're there to help members connect and help bridge silos internally--if you're in social media for the fame and glory, you're in the wrong place at a nonprofit. Also, nonprofit social media/community management is about more than "the big three"--how about familiarity with old school tools like listservs and discussion boards--the mainstays of many nonprofits' online communities?

    I think a better matrix for nonprofits would be not about marketing but about online community building skills.

  • Keith Hosey said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 4:41 AM

    My score was better than I thought, maybe I am the right person for the job... Also, I'd like to respectfully disagree with Maggie. For my non-profit the reach part is huge. We serve people with disabilities and many can't make it to our physical locations, however they are online and congregating in these social media places.  I can post a flyer about 2010 veteran benefit changes at our office and twenty people will see it in a week. I can post the link on FB and it reaches over 100 of our consumers. I put it on twitter, it reaches people with disabilities nationally and has the chance to be re-tweeted by colleagues in other parts of the country, or some regular person who it may interest. We use the old school tools, but we have everything connected, so it's about ease of access to our information base ("no wrong door"). I do agree about the community building, that's key, and for us, we offer peer support and discussion boards as a component to our social media strategy. But if that community is three people, like our blog ;), then there's less community than, say our FB fan page with over 100.

  • Pam said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 5:25 AM

    Too little emphasis on content. I've now hidden updates from a program (I think they're for-profit, but for this example that doesn't matter) on Facebook that seems to have relegated all of its fan page upkeep to one of those Gen-Yers. It's a popular personal finance management on-line tool. The content on the FB page is absolutely irrelevant to me, and it's making me question whether the product wasn't intended for my demographic.

  • Sara said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 6:10 AM

    I think that in some ways both Keith and Maggie are saying the same thing.  The point of reach for all marketing is getting the message to the RIGHT people.  If Keith has a good list for his organization, it's because it's a list chock-full of the people who his nonprofit serves.  It would be of no benefit to have me on his list, because I am not involved in disability issues nor am I served by any organization that is.  If I showed up with a large list of fans of Angelina Jolie, it might be seven times bigger than Keith's list, hypothetically, but it would not be useful to his organization.

    So, Keith's list is apparently large, but even more importantly it gets to the right target audience.  Awesome!

    Maggie may sound defensive about this social-media stuff, but I agree that for many nonprofits, email is tried and true and a strong email writer is probably better e-marketing for getting turnout at events and helping supporters get the word out to their friends who are also likely to become supporters as well.  It's always good to keep an eye out for opportunities in social media (that Facebook bra-color/Susan Komen thing is a well-known recent example), but don't let some employee hijack the organization's limited marketing resources by wasting a lot of time on channels that aren't going to pay off, whatever they are.

  • Ashley Messick said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 6:23 AM

    Very interesting post and questionnaire especially. I scored better than I would have thought (I always feel like I still have so much to learn!) and in those areas where I may have gotten less than 5 I now know how to improve.

    I would agree with some of the points from everyone's comments. I think much of it also depends on your specific nonprofit. For our blood center, it is wonderful to have reach but if those people are not in our physical community they cannot physically donate blood and take part in our mission. I like how Sara puts it - that it is about getting the message to as many people who are the right people as possible. I like to think of it more as what percentage of your audience are you reaching and engaging in your work.

    I would also agree that some of the questions on the questionnaire are too focused on numbers and not on quality. Facebook began when I was a freshman in college. I naturally have many more friends than those who may have joined when it opened up to everyone. I think the questions should have the additional qualifier of saying "how many groups are you an active part of on Facebook" and "how many Twitter followers do you have that you regularly engage with". We can all get on these services and feign participation just by joining. It takes much more effort to make that participation meaningful and educational.

  • Carol Drury said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 6:32 AM

    I definitely flunk the test!  But I am it for our barebones staff!  I know I am way behind the curve. Suggestions on how to catch up?  Help!  I need info/training on web and social media. (The last time I did PR/communications/fundraising there was no Internet!!) Also, I have never worked for a national/international organization before and would love to have advice/info on reaching beyond my HQ city!  Thanks to anyone who can point me in the right direction.

  • Sarah Jackson said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 7:17 AM

    This is interesting! Broadly agree with the DARC skills mix but the questionnaire seems to suggest that only people who are very keen on self-promotion suit a social media marketing role.

    Surely it's erroneous to assume that the number of friends someone has on Facebook has any link whatsoever with how many friends they could win for your fan page?

    Likewise assumptions about post frequency or blog readership for a personal blog. What about someone providing stonking content on a niche topic?

    I'm not sure this would recognise the value of a staffer whose critical understanding of the medium allowed them to use social media effectively as a marketing tool rather than just an extension of their lifestyle.

  • Tom Humbarger said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 9:03 AM


    It's interesting to see so many comments and interesting discussion taking place about this blog post.  I thought I would chime in and provide some additional background on the thought process I used to develop the DARC Scoring Matrix.  One caveat that I mentioned in my original post was that "this may not be the ultimate Inbound Marketing scoring mechanism, but it is a credible stake in the ground and I welcome any comments."

    Yes, my matrix is very quantitative and it may seem too detailed for some.  But it is much more detailed and useful than the example that Shah and Halligan put forth in their Inbound Marketing book.  Their original matrix focused totally on the raw numbers in just 4 values instead of converting those raw numbers into a more meaningful metric.  

    For example, is 450 connections really better than 410 connections or 2,500 Twitter followers better than 1,900 followers?  This is why I set my scoring matrix to accommodate a range of scoring values.  I agree that the total number of connections/followers/friends is not really relevant (beyond a certain point) as it is too easy to 'game' the system by bulking up your profile.  However, you need to reach a certain level or threshold before you gain experience and to demonstrate how to build up this metric.

    I'd love to work a better quality factor into the matrix too, but it's hard to quantify quality. I have a subjective measure for tweet quality, but could use a way to add quality to the other areas.

    Thanks for all of your comments and keep them coming...

      Tom Humbarger

  • Maggie McGary said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 10:37 AM

    Awesome discussion! I just wanted to clarify that I definitely believe in social media tools' ability to reach an audience--I just mentioned the the listservs and discussion boards in addition to the newer tools because at many associations members are very wedded to these old-school tools and don't want to hear about Twitter or Facebook. Sorry--it was clear in my mind but obviously not clear to everyone!

    I hear you, Keith--we have over 17,000 fans on Facebook and I definitely see the value in using all available tools--email, old school and new school--in tandem to reach as many members and potential members as possible. But my own personal reach is separate from the reach of my association's social networks--like Sarah says, my personal network is not the right audience (except for a few) so it's not about how many fans/followers I personally have as much as me knowing tactics to curate the right audience of followers/fans.

    Carol--this is a good resource which may be helpful to you:


  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Maggie, I absolutely agree that a social media "rockstar" may not be the best fit for a nonprofit community-building role - human nature does make the score-keeping focus on numbers a tempting trap, easy to get sucked in without even being consciously aware of it. I'd love to see a scoring matrix for community building - let's keep an eye out in case someone's comes up with one: if it doesn't exist already, surely it's only a matter of time!

    Keith, your point about needing the numbers in order to reach the right people is well taken. We can't build a community when the message goes unheard. I'd argue that both marketing and community-building skills are needed here.

    Pam, it is so much about the content in the end, isn't it? Or, perhaps, more specifically, about delivering the right message in the right way by the right channels to the right people!

    Sara, true: while email may not be terribly sexy, all the stats I'm seeing do strongly suggest that it's still the prime channel. I suspect (no data, just gut feeling) email may be especially key for nonprofits compared to for-profits marketing online. Wonder if there are any stats on that...? Either way, your last point - about the need to avoid "shiny object syndrome" - is an important one: tools have to serve the goals, at the end of the day.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 10:50 AM

    Ah, Maggie, our comments crossed in time!

    Thanks very much for sharing the Community Roundtable link with Carol (and others looking for a place to get started - I know there are many!): it's a great round-up of resources. And one can't go wrong with Lee Lefever's Common Craft videos, too: http://www.commoncraft.com/videos

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Carol, you're certainly not alone, both in juggling many hats in a very small shop and in perhaps feeling a touch of "overwhelm" at the thought of social media... I'd urge you to remember that the bottom line on communication is, in fact, communication - and you can do that!  

    Another thought: every month we post a list of free webinars of interest to nonprofits on Wild Apricot Blog, and there may be something there to interest you - usually, all it takes to participate is an internet connection, though headphone/microphone can be useful and some are held on the telephone (I like Skype for making free or inexpensive calls). Lots of webinars give participants the opportunity to ask questions, too.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Tom, thanks a bunch for stopping by to add more background on the thinking process that led to your matrix. Absolutely, as I think the other commenters here make clear, it is incredibly difficult to collect and make sense of qualitative data...

    Ashley, you've made a move in that direction here, by adding "engagement" to the basic numbers; the next step would be, I suppose, nailing down all the kinds of engagement there can be via a given platform - or at least those that can be measured in some way.

    Sarah, your comment suddenly gave me a flash of the wise how-to-write-a-CV advice: to frame your qualifications in terms of the benefits to the employer. Not, "I amassed a kajillion Twitter followers in 7 months," but something like "I ran the Twitter account ... and click-throughs to our org's donation page from Twitter increased by 28% in that time" maybe?

  • Sue Anne said:

    Saturday, 06 February 2010 at 10:09 PM

    The Darc is a good start, especially if the hiring manager - or the one trying to make a decision on who to task with social media - is not all that familiar with the tools. And, any of the questions can lead to wider discussion of strategy, reach, engagement, etc.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 07 February 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Good point, Sue Anne - not everyone who's doing the hiring will be familiar with the tools of social media themselves, and they'll need to start somewhere.

  • Dave said:

    Sunday, 21 February 2010 at 5:21 AM

    This is extremely helpful as we seek to make the following hire. Thanks! http://ow.ly/19BNo

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 22 February 2010 at 9:40 AM

    Glad to hear it, Dave. Good luck finding the right person to be your new program officer!

  • Alan Abbey said:

    Wednesday, 03 March 2010 at 2:01 AM

    Excellent starting point! What's the "minimum" score a person should have before feeling he or she is the right person for his/her organization? I scored 90 - is that good?

    Other questions to add to the mix: How often do you comment on web articles, blog post, videos, or web items that are relevant to your organization or its topics/goals/themes?

    How often are you cited by others in your field? How many places is your blog/website/video channel linked? How many "friends"/followers do you have on YouTube?

    There are lots of additional questions, as well, I am sure to "rank" someone on a scale of 1-100.

    But there are other items, as these indicate the success of a "lone wolf" in an organization. How well has the person done in "evangelizing" about social media in his/her organization?

    Is there any metric that ties social media performance in with actual $ - fund-raising? Or are all of these "soft" items without real measurement capabilities.

  • Fran Simon said:

    Tuesday, 16 March 2010 at 12:40 PM

    I love this matrix, but I'd add some content measures, including:

    - subject matter expertise

    - evangelical attitude

    - understanding of the competitive landscape of the given field

    - ability to network with the right people (not the same as # of friends/followers)

    I'd also add some measures for understanding of email and interactive marketing, because for me, socmed and e-marketing should be integrated.

    I would add a general writing proficiency test. I'd review the candidate's tweets, blog entries and titles. Finally, I'd look at email marketing content, especially the ability to craft compelling subject lines.

    This post is clearly related to my post: "Social Media? Give It To The Intern! (Not!) http://wp.me/plOKZ-1o

    Thanks for a great idea! I had never considered a scoring matrix for selecting social media staff, but it is a GREAT idea.

    Fran Simon

    Engagement Strategies




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