How to Raise Money for Your Unsexy, but Important Cause Through Social Media
"Everyone gets that experience, not just $50,000 donors," Gordon said. "Traditionally, big donors are thanked right away, told what their money goes to, are publicly recognized and develop strong personal relationships, as they should. It's a great donor experience. Social media gives a low-cost way of doing that for everybody."
The key is having something that donors want to share with their friends. They have to know why they'd share it in order for this to work. And that's where the two-way conversation comes in. Social media allows fundraisers to understand and communicate with their constituents like never before, which they can use to create relevant and engaging campaigns. Again, it's all about building a strong, trusted community.
Characteristics of a community
Nonprofits that are doing this really well have these characteristics of a strong community:
- Communicating regularly with supporters.
- A two-way street: asking questions and responding to questions.
- Setting goals and closing the loop when the goal is met.
- Asking for participation.
- Giving recognition.
- Building relationships.
- Creating "shareable" stories of your community. "Part of your job as a content driver is making your story shareable," Gordon said. "Each fundraising campaign that you do, make sure you have a clear space in your head of what your donors are going to say about it. Be sure of what the story they're supposed to share is. What about this campaign specifically do you think they're going to share?"
Make sure you don't fall into the trap of anti-community messaging, Gordon warned. Characteristics of communications that are not community-friendly include:
- Fundraising asks that don't resonate.
- Focus on reach, not relationships.
- All members are created equal. Some donors will be bigger influencers in social media, while others just like to view from afar. Treat them accordingly.
- Donate or bust.
- You communicate as an organization, not a person.
- Disjointed asks for action. "You can't keep putting out varying calls to action that aren't tied to anything. The quickest way to burn through your networks is to ask them to do anything that doesn't have an impact," Gordon said.
Questions to ask yourself
Gordon closed out the session by suggesting that fundraisers ask themselves these questions before embarking on social-media marketing:
- Why are we creating a community? What can donors do that makes an impact?
- Why would people want to be in our community? Why would they want their friends to be involved?
- How can we build community?
- How can we show the impact of our work to our community?
If you can't answer those questions, you probably aren't ready to make significant fundraising strides via social media. But if you can, you can unearth an army of volunteer fundraisers that can do remarkable things, just like JCCCNC.