Good Things Come ...
Working hand in hand
Is it just a coincidence that online giving skyrocketed in direct correlation with the rise of social media? I don't think so. Not at all.
In fact, social media is finally helping Donate Now technology reach its full potential. All the hopes and buzz that we were writing, e-mailing and talking about in 2000 are now transforming into real dollars raised online. And anyone who regularly monitors Blackbaud's or Network for Good's online-giving indexes knows we're about to blast off in online giving. The total dollars raised annually by the nonprofit sector is on a current path to grow exponentially year after year and likely will not move backward until mobile giving becomes the dominant means of processing charitable donations.
That said, nonprofits that have been utilizing social media for two years to six years are now the best positioned to reap the benefits of Donate Now technology. Similarly, those that are now pioneering mobile technology will be the best positioned to reap the benefits of mobile giving in years to come. That's just the way the Web works now — fortune befriends the early adopters.
Many nonprofits have concluded prematurely that social media does not directly contribute to online dollars raised because amounts given through Facebook, Twitter or MySpace apps and widgets have been relatively low. But that conclusion misses the bigger picture of what's really happening. It took almost a decade for donors to trust Donate Now technology. Similarly, it might take years for them to trust apps and widgets (and mobile-giving technology), but can you imagine if we had listened to the naysayers and thrown out Donate Now buttons in 2005 because the results weren't immediate?
Granted, it's almost impossible to track where your online donors come from unless you specifically poll them after they donate online. But any good social-media manager that is invested in and engaged with an organization's online communities and is in tune with the ebb and flow of online behavior knows that the secret of the social Web is to utilize it to both build the organization's online brand recognition and its e-newsletter and (now) mobile lists. FS