Making Event Participants More Successful With Social-Media Tools
The evolution of Facebook as a tool for special-event fundraising can be broken down into three phases. Prior to 2009, participants tapped in to their social networks by manually posting their own status updates or sharing links on Facebook and other sites. These individuals were early innovators in terms of their use of social media to assist their fundraising efforts. In early 2009, event organizers began recognizing the growing impact of social networks on fundraising and became more proactive in prompting participants to tap in to their social networks to support their efforts. Following the release of integrated Facebook and event fundraising tools in 2009, the marketplace then experienced an accelerated use of social media by participants to help strengthen their fundraising. Organizations increasingly began using more sophisticated Facebook applications that automated status updates by prompting participants throughout event campaigns.
Our research showed that event participants using Facebook tend to set higher goals for themselves and commit to stronger support for an organization. Importantly, they raise significantly more than participants who do not use Facebook. There’s an even stronger impact when a more robust application such as Boundless Fundraising, which automates and integrates participants’ ability to access their Facebook friends, is used. Overall, event participants that used such an application with Facebook increased their fundraising by as much as 40 percent compared to their peers who weren’t using the available online tools.
YouTube vs. a picture
While the benefit of Facebook and Twitter comes largely from their ability to enable event participants to increase awareness and reach more prospective donors, YouTube is useful because it allows individuals to deliver more powerful messages and fundraising appeal. Allowing participants to upgrade their fundraising appeals from static text and a picture to a video provides a creative, more effective way for them to:
- Make an emotion-felt, personal ask;
- Better describe the impact and mission of the organization they are supporting;
- Clearly convey why a cause is important to them; and
- Do something “catchy” to increase the viral effect of their fundraising appeals.
From our research, we learned that YouTube users are more likely to balance their use of online and offline channels to conduct fundraising activities. Also, compared to participants utilizing other social-media platforms, YouTube users performed the strongest offline.