Sanctuaries Need Social Engagement to Do Their Good Work
Our social maven came to us as a volunteer who was always reaching out to answer questions and who enjoys photography, videography and editing digital photos and videos. She was doing such a great job we finally hired her, even though she lives all the way across the country from us.
So my first bit of advice would be to find that person you your organization who knows photos, videos and editing and who is so passionate they do it for free and then give them access to the channels.
We post to Facebook every 4 hours and make it a mix of fun, sharable photos and videos and then throw in a small number of asks, such as for wish list items, legislative action or donations.
We use some automation tools because we share on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, YouTube and others, so we set it to post on one and copy to the other channels where possible. We use scheduling on FB so that posts go out throughout the night too, because our supporters are from all over the globe.
We give several of our volunteers access to our social sites so they can respond to questions right away. That makes a huge difference.
Use the social sites as a way of bringing people to your website and to sign up for your emails. Building that list is essential to your financial success.
In the early days of the sanctuary, when I could only afford 3 paychecks, this was the first three people I hired:
1. Operations Manger to manage 100 volunteers. No one here gets paid to work with animals because people will do that work for free. The Ops Mgr organizes all of that free labor to make sure the cats are fed, cleaned, given treats, and have all their needs met.
2. Gift Shop manager. You can't save animals without income and you need income other than just donations. Volunteers help with sales, mailing out goods, etc., sending Thank You cards and such, but someone has to be the constant person in charge to make sure it happens.
3. A Videographer / Photographer. This is the one that most sanctuaries resist and see as a luxury, but our story is visual and the best way to engage the public is to share what happens every day.