In my J440 class last term I worked on a media kit for McKenzie River Trust. If it isn’t available right now, I will include it as part of my resume in the future. Founded in 1989, the McKenzie River Trust was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 1990. They now conserve and protect nearly 3,300 acres of land in Oregon’s Lane and Douglas counties. To do this, they either buy land off willing owners, or they protect it via conservation easements. The organization envisions “a future in which intact, functioning ecosystems provide clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon.” Three of their goals are to protect special lands, restore natural systems, and connect people to places they care about.
Of all the local nonprofits profiled so far in this blog, the McKenzie River Trust by far maintains the most simplistic approach to social media. While they use Facebook and YouTube, they only advertise their Facebook page on the bottom right corner of their homepage. Interestingly enough, they are also the only nonprofit not to have a Twitter account. Given the number of people who use it and the opportunity to share important information, this seems like a lost opportunity, even through the perspective of minimalist social media.
Also, the frequency with which they update their Facebook page is sporadic. Some days, such as last Friday as of this writing, they post multiple times within the day. Other days they post only once. Sometimes they post nothing. Usually the gap between posts will be no longer than a few days, however.
What they may lack in consistency, though, they make up for in their two-way communication. Last Friday, for example, they posted – among other links – a KLCC article about the McKenzie River Trust purchasing the Coyote Spencer Wetland area located five miles southwest of Eugene. One fan, a student at the University of Oregon, left the following comment:
Sweet! Looking forward to a tour this Sunday ^_^
The McKenzie River Trust responded in a little under an hour, with their response receiving a like:
Hi [name omitted]! You must be in the UO Wetlands class. Ryan says he’s looking forward to meeting you on the field trip this weekend.
Their willingness to engage with their audience is a positive development in the McKenzie River Trust’s social media plan. Unfortunately, this only works when they’re providing information on a regular, consistent basis. Even if they change nothing about the frequency of their posts, their message would be reenforced by the introduction of a Twitter account. However, I would caution against the introduction of other mediums, as the McKenzie River Trust may benefit from a more simplistic approach.
Their ZMOT broadly reflects the focus on the nonprofit’s mission of protection wildlife. A Google search for the McKenzie River Trust produced the following results:
- Their homepage, with links to their about page, their contact page, their donation page, their history, a list of their owned properties and partners, and a page on Green Island – their largest protected property.
- Their gazettetimes.com listing.
- A listing of KVAL articles related to the McKenzie River Trust.
- Their Facebook page.
- Their profile on Spirit Mountain Community Fund, which gave three grants to the nonprofit totaling $67,500.
- An EWEB news release profiling their successful collaboration with the McKenzie River Trust and Ninkasi Brewing on the Conservation Ale.
- A Living Lands case study by the Defenders of Wildlife.
- Their profile on Artists for Conservation, which wants to raise $3,170 for the organization.
- One of their YouTube videos.
- Their WiserEarth profile.
What’s good about their ZMOT is that it means that McKenzie River Trust are able to maintain focus on their organization. Not a single one of these links has anything to do with anything but the organization. Of course, only a couple links are stories that actually show what the nonprofit does, and many of them are listings on other websites. This limits the organization’s exposure to its potential audience.
People cannot have a positive or a negative image of an organization they have never heard of and understand little about. To correct this, the McKenzie River Trust should consider expanding their social media plan – probably no more than a Twitter account – and continuously engage their audience. They have a good message and do good at what they already go. They simply need to do more of it.