Turning Fundraising on Its Head
"We understand that the more they view our Facebook page, the more that they share our content, the more that they click on our links and go back to our website and see the stories of the children that we serve — eventually they will become the event attendees or they will donate to us. It is a lengthy process. We understand that, and we're committed to a lengthy process," he adds.
The Hope Institute approaches each social network in slightly different ways, tailoring to the audiences. Any video about the Hope Institute goes up on YouTube, and the organization will do interviews, training presentations and event videos to post there.
On Facebook, the institute posts relevant content daily, but it also runs certain promotions dedicated to Facebook. For instance, in February, the organization had a fan drive in which a donor offered to donate a dollar for each new Facebook fan that joined that month. That helped drive an extra thousand fans over a three-week period, Brown says. Hope also has incorporated surveys and polls to drive Facebook fans to the website, have them complete the surveys and then share that activity with their friends.
The Twitter strategy is a little more marketing-driven. It's not a place to bring in money, but what Brown discovered very quickly was that there was a large number of parents and community members within the autism community who use Twitter.
"[Twitter] has become a very powerful tool as far as building support within the autism community and especially with parents who have children who have autism," Brown says. "We've been able to reach out to them through Twitter and really been able to build a strong base of support so that when we have things that we would like actively shared, they are more than glad to share that information."