Hello, I Love You; Won't You Tell Me Your Name
Last week, I gave in to peer pressure and signed up for a Google+ account. So, after I tweeted, posted on Facebook and read the contents of my four e-mail accounts, I had to update my Google+ account. Then I called my husband from my mobile phone, texted my daughter and e-mailed my sister.
We all have so many ways to connect — but sometimes it feels like that Doors song. Or in 21st century language, "Our nonprofit has 'likes' on Facebook, followers on Twitter, subscribers on YouTube — but our donor file isn't growing." They all love us, but do they really know us?
There are many ways to justify having a social presence as a nonprofit (and not too many good reasons not to have one by now). But how do you measure its value to your nonprofit?
I love the quote by UNICEF's internet chief from a few years back: "The currencies that we deal in are awareness and enlightenment and to have people be stakeholders in these ideas."
Unfortunately, most boards of directors are less lofty and prefer to deal in the currency of "return on investment."
Here are some tips for getting your fans, friends and followers to become your donors and volunteers, all from the world of rock 'n' roll.
I've removed myself from the e-mail files of more than one nonprofit because I felt like I was being stalked. Three or four e-mails a week is too many, no matter how exciting your news is. Back in the old days, we had two options for our postal mailing list — get all our mail, or get none of it. Then we got sophisticated (and also got computers), and we could offer quarterly mail, newsletters only, etc. Give your e-mail file options, too — before people decide the only option is to click the "remove" link on your e-mail. Asking how often they want to hear from you shows respect, and people who feel respected are more likely to become investors.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.