This year will be the fundraising season where we will start tosee whether building communities on social-networking sites produces results in terms of dollars raised. I know my end-of-year donations are allotted for those nonprofits that engaged me best on Twitter and Facebook throughout 2009.
Bad Economy or Bad Strategy?
Don't let one camouflage the other.
By Tom Harrison
Looking for an excuse for declining fundraising income? How about the bad economy?
These days, it's easy to blame the economy to justify poor results — few are going to argue with that, as we've all felt the impact of the recession. However, even though the economy is a factor, the reality is that bad strategy has as much (or even more) of a role in poor fundraising results.
Many nonprofits — the ones that have stayed committed to smart strategy — are holding steady on income, and some are actually growing. Their secret is to avoid four deadly mistakes of fundraising.
Mistake No. 1: Investing in silver bullets instead of strategy.
Some nonprofits resisted change for so long that they are now making desperate choices in their efforts to catch up. Digital is a key place where this is evident. Nonprofits that were slow to develop inviting and informative Web sites with easy online giving are desperate not to repeat that mistake. So, they're jumping into social media with no clear strategies or performance measurements, betting that if they throw enough at this, they're bound to succeed, right? Wrong. There isn't any silver bullet out there.
When testing social media (or other new channels), smart fundraisers don't check their brains at the door. They keep their focus on ROI to spend wisely and to optimize real opportunities. The answer might not be the shiniest thing out there, but in the long run, it's what consistently brings in net dollars.