2013 NTC: How 2 Nonprofits Utilize Social-Media Data, Part 1
Ever since social media took off, fundraisers have been trying to decipher exactly what that means for donors and their fundraising, as well as how to go about utilizing the channel. Now with social media firmly entrenched in the social consciousness, there are mounds and mounds of social-media data fundraisers can explore to build deeper connections with donors and take advantage of social media.
At NTEN's 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference Thursday, four fundraising professionals discussed social data and what nonprofits should do with it, including how the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and CARE leverage their social data. Here is what Casey Golden, CEO of Small Act; Mark Davis, director of technical solutions at Blackbaud; Danielle Brigida, senior manager of social strategy and integration at NWF; and Ken Bess, manager of Web development at CARE, shared during their session, "We Heart Social Data: But What Do We Do With It?"
Why is social data important?
Social data is important because it "gives you a real-time dossier on your donors," Golden said. "You can get into the mind of the donor, understand who they are and what's important to them now, and how to best engage with them."
It's all about doing social better and understanding how it can affect your nonprofit's fundraising, programming, marketing and more. Social data allows you to be in the right place at the right time with the right message to donors and influencers.
The 4 types of influencers
Davis then outlined the four basic types of social-media influencers: key influencers, engagers, multichannel consumers and standard consumers.
Key influencers: The key influencers are the tip of pyramid and represent the top 1 percent of social-media users. These are people who have a significant ability to influence a broad base of social-media users, Davis said. They reach a wide net of people with a broad message. They're great people to ask to become team captains for fundraising pages or volunteers.
"Finding and cultivating key influencers is critical to expand your network," Davis said. "You want to cultivate them to become an extension of your high-level volunteers on social media."
Engagers: Engagers represent about 5 percent of the social-media population. They also communicate broadly but generate the majority of content on social networks. They tend to have strong connections with key influencers, and they have a very strong influence on their connections, Davis said. Engagers are not as broad-based as influencers, but they are highly trusted, which is important because more and more people are making buying and donating decisions based of other people's opinions.
Multichannel consumers: These are typical multichannel consumers that are on two or more social networks. However, they don't have as much influence — they're the ones consuming the content, the people you can reach, Davis said.
Standard consumers: They are on just one social network and don't consume as much as multichannel consumers, but they can still be reached, particularly if you engage the key influencers and engagers.
Obviously, it's vital to connect with the key influencers and engagers to get the most out of social media and reach the largest pool of donors.
"NWF's social data story started in 2006-07 with me just jumping in to social media, and no one really knew what I was doing," Brigida said. "But as the years have gone on, social has become a connector to give insight into other areas of the organization for NWF, informing our followers on all we do."
Three years ago, NWF set out a "social experiment" to give it a real shot. Then two years ago, NWF finally embraced the fact that social media was here to stay, but still thought there was little impact for the organization. Then last year, NWF finally embraced social and had its data analyzed on its donors and its social-media followers. Here's what NWF found:
- 60 percent of its members were on social networks.
- Donors on social were bigger givers, especially donors on LinkedIn.
- Donors on social tended to respond better to mail solicitations, particularly those on Facebook and Twitter.
- Major-gift prospects were fairly social.
"Everyone is social. There are donors of every gift level on social," Golden said. "It's about what you can find out about them, and there will be more access to wealthy donors as more of them adopt social media."
So with all this data, NWF wanted to have a context of its donors on social. The goals were to make social smarter, focus on social reporting that's relevant, make traditional campaigns smarter by incorporating social, and monitor long-term benefits and changes to donors.
So Brigida started using the data when interacting with individuals — knowing whether they were donors, what level, advocates, etc. — and communicating appropriately. Then she was able to drill down into the data to figure out statistics like how many members these people have talked to and was able to drill down into different high-value groups like lapsed subscribers. Then she shares that data with the other departments so they can use it as needed.
"I look at my job as an air-traffic controller," she said. "The data doesn't stop with me. I pass it on to my staff so they can use it."
Check back next week to learn how NWF incorporated its social data further, and how CARE has followed suit.