I have a lot of problems with the way that social media is promoted by agencies and designers, especially to NGOs and nonprofits more generally. In too many cases, social is presented as a panacea for building conversation among constituents or fueling development among funders. The reality is that social media is still heavily weighted toward a very specific type of media consumer–wealthier, younger, able, and active–and many nonprofit stakeholders are not well represented.
However, there is a lot of good that come from a thoughtful application of social media these days, especially for nonprofits that have fewer or less expansive resources. One example is around general PR. Years ago, it would take thousands of dollars to send out and manage PR each year with little means to track or analyze the results. Today, a good freelance writer and a subscription to HootSuite can do the same thing with actionable results based upon responses and analytics.
War Child, a nonprofit based in Toronto that fosters education for about children, in conjunction with the Canadian International Development Agency, produced a smart video called Going Digital–an introduction to digital communications for non-profits. The video introduces the topic of social media and online communications via various realistic nonprofit consultants. You can view this below. I highly recommend it.