How Tweet It Is! Mastering Social Media for Fundraising Success
Now we have even more ways to engage, empower and educate our constituencies in this Web 2.0 world. Nonprofit professionals need to embrace the expectations of the individual and all of the powerful tools an individual has at his or her fingertips to share their organizations’ stories. The challenge is figuring out where your organization’s resources can be best leveraged.
It’s not just about the money; it’s about relationships in all fundraising disciplines. We know that when a board member accompanies a development officer to meet with a prospective or major donor, the odds of securing the gift are far greater than if the development officer went on the ask alone. What our parents and teachers have taught us throughout our lives about peer pressure is true. Fortunately, the peer pressure we are talking about here is moral, ethical and socially responsible. Doesn't this feel and sound familiar?
Online fundraising and social media require the same diligence your major-gifts fundraising campaigns require. The upside is that unlike traditional direct mail, your acquisition costs are relegated to the cost of an online account, maintenance of a smartphone contract and your time. Most traditional acquisition campaigns cost $5-$10 per constituent, and then there is the retention challenge. At the recent Nonprofit Technology Conference it was stated that a general rule of thumb is that each constituent acquired is equivalent to $1. Considering nonprofits pay five to 10 times that for acquisition, this is a return on investment that strategic nonprofits will leverage more widespread.
There are no direct fees for setting up Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. The maintenance of your nonprofit's social media presences is where your time and resource investments can pay off. It is up to you and your organization, but you can get help from your “raving fans” in your online community who are interested in your organization’s work. Convert them into — a new term I just heard for the first time at NTC 2010 in Atlanta — social evangelists. Maintaining your organization’s social media presence requires more resources than setting it up. Think of it in the same manner you would your organization’s website. You wouldn’t let the content go stale there; why would you on a social-networking site?
Evolution of the species of Facebook
Facebook always has focused on building ways for people to connect with each other and share information with their friends. This is important because people are shaping how information moves and is evaluated by their social networks. People increasingly are discovering information not just through links to Web pages, but also from the people and things they care about.