Attention! Social Media Does Not Equal Fundraising!
I blame President Obama and The Red Cross. Their large fundraising numbers via the Internet and social media for the Obama 2008 campaign and the tsunami disaster in Japan, respectively, created a false sense of hope for nonprofits everywhere.
You may have a CEO who's demanding that "we get on social media now so we can raise much needed funds." Or you know an organization that started a Facebook page, didn't have that many "Likes" after a few months and abandoned it. Without a strategy — and an investment of time and money — your social-media efforts may not bear fruits.
Consider the following from 2010:
- 0.4 percent of nonprofits raised $100,000+ via Twitter or Facebook; and
- 77.6 percent of nonprofits that used Facebook to fundraise ended up raising less than $1,000.
Those statistics aren't meant to frustrate you; they're intended to make you think about social media in a different light. The fact is that donors are online: 46 percent of U.S. millionaires are on Facebook, 75 percent of the world's millionaires are outside the U.S., and 70 percent of Twitter users are outside the U.S. Social media opens your organization to the world, but you'll need to invest money and time to see results.
Let's look at Obama 2008 and The Red Cross to understand how they succeeded.
The Obama marketing team had a clear strategy: Use the Internet and social media to promote its candidate's campaign, engage people across the U.S. (especially the 19-year-old to 29-year-old demographic) and eventually convert these "fans" into campaign donors. The campaign invested $26 million into Internet marketing and ended up raising more than half a billion dollars online. Staff worked 'round the clock to connect, discuss and post content that people liked, shared, retweeted and commented on.