How to Raise Money for Your Unsexy, but Important Cause Through Social Media
"It's hard to create communities with direct mail," Gordon said. "Donors read mail in their houses alone, write checks and donate in isolation. It's really hard to make them feel like a part of a large community. We now have a medium that we can use to re-create community online with social media."
Social media allows fundraisers to turn strangers into friends, turn friends into donors and then do the most important job — turn donors into fundraisers. How? By flipping the traditional direct-marketing fundraising funnel.
Traditionally, fundraisers send their asks out to a bunch of people, which trickle down to get some of those people to donate. That's not the best way to think about fundraising with social media, Gordon said.
"[Social-media] fundraising is about creating a community of dedicated people, bringing them in and then getting them to fundraise for us," she added. "If we get 50 people that fundraise through 50 other people, all these great things can happen. How many people can we get to spread it? … It's not just about how many people you can get to donate, but how many people you can get to spread it and fundraise for you."
So how do you create this utopian community where people are asking to help fundraise for you? By actively engaging and communicating with donors in a true two-way forum:
- A donor hears about your project through one or more mediums: blog, Twitter, Facebook, Causes community, e-mail, website, etc.
- That person then donates to the project because it is important to her, and you suggest, "Tell your friends why they should donate too."
- That donor tells her friends on Facebook that she donated.
- Then she asks specific friends to donate too.
- Finally, there is social recognition and interaction with the community on the Causes page, which can be further enhanced through other social networks.
It's a new spin on donor cultivation. Instead of focusing on just the top donors, social media allows all donors to be cultivated with the help of volunteer fundraisers (your fans, friends and followers who spread the word through social media).