Competition for the fundraising dollar is tough. Not a day goes by where people aren’t asked for money from a not-for-profit whether it’s at the supermarket, by phone, in their inbox or their letterbox. So how do you ‘make the ask’ on social media in a way that engages and encourages people to support your cause?
Firstly, there are some foundation principles that apply on social media, that are particularly important when it comes to fundraising:
1) Social media is not a broadcast tool.
In some forms of fundraising marketing the louder, larger and longer the ‘ask’, the more effective it is. This is not the case in social media! You can’t just ask and hope that people will give. Social media is about engagement and relationship. This takes work. The key is to understand what your target audience is seeking from you and to deliver this in many ways and many times, before you ask for anything. You have to earn the right to ask on social media.
2) Social media is not a stand-alone tool
There are very few examples where successful fundraising campaigns have been conducted on social media alone. We can all think of a few that have been hugely successful and then when the same strategy is used by other not-for-profits or even done again by the same organisation, it has fallen flat and provided little return. To get consistent results on social media it is important to see it as a part of a whole strategy, rather than a stand-alone solution. Use social media to engage people in your cause, then use effective content to lead them on a journey. The end result may, and should, not always be about a financial gain. Social media provides the opportunity for multiple touch points and engagement opportunities. It is rarely an end point.
3) Social media takes time and resources.
Occasionally you will strike it lucky and that viral video or controversial post, will give you widespread organic reach AND deliver tangible results. But as a general rule, to get results in social media requires planning, strategy, time and tools to make it work. Social media is not a quick fix and it isn’t free. A lot of time and resources can be wasted if it is not used efficiently and effectively.
4) Social media needs to be part of your organisational culture.
For social media to be truly effective as a fundraising tool, it must be integrated into your day to day business and embedded into the culture of the organisation. This means having policies for your staff, volunteers, members, donors and people who choose to engage with you on social media. You need to educate senior management, staff, volunteers, members and donors on how to best support you on social media. Think carefully about where social media sits as a function in your organisation and establish systems and processes to support these powerful tools for marketing, education, advocacy, customer service, media relations, volunteer recruitment AND fundraising. It is so much more than raising the next dollar.
There are many resources available to help you get started in social media and fundraising. I’m yet to find many (other than Connecting Up of course!) that combines the two topics really well consistently.
Some of my favourite blogs are:
- Beth Kanter: http://www.bethkanter.org/
- Jeff Brooks: http://www.futurefundraisingnow.com/future-fundraising/
- Network for Good: http://www.nonprofitmarketingblog.com/
- Nonprofit Tech for Good: http://www.nptechforgood.com/