The Real Value of Social Fundraising: A Powerful Strategy Not to Be Overlooked
While social fundraising is a critical concept to understand, it can also be a complicated one. But when you can embrace the idea and layer it onto everything your nonprofit is doing, it can be a powerful force that can help take your fundraising and awareness goals to the next level.
Social fundraising is basically the act of getting people (supporters, donors, evangelists, fundraisers, etc.) to post to their personal networks about the actions that they take related to your cause.
And the key to social fundraising is that it’s not about having to do more, it’s more about maximizing what you’re already doing. It’s a layered approach—adding more value to things, like ticket purchases, donations and personal philanthropic narratives. During a time when nonprofits aren’t just having trouble growing, but having trouble staying solvent, the power and value of social fundraising could create immense benefits to so many nonprofits.
Do Shares Have Real Value?
The jury has been out for a while on the value of a share. We’ve found many people say that they don’t think a share does one thing for their cause or its mission, and that a share is just a passive way to do something without doing anything.
However, we’ve seen the exact opposite to be true and have found that tremendous value can be created, cultivated and sustained for your organization when your supporters share the actions they take with your cause.
This requires a bit of a mind shift, but, like many things, when we change our perspective, we can see a lot clearer; and the opportunities can become undeniably exciting. So, if you can think holistically about your organization, shares have the power to provide real value to your mission awareness programs, marketing programs, fundraising programs, recruitment programs and more.
Yes! Shares Do Create Value
When your supporters tap into their own personal networks on social media, they are reaching out to a large group of people that would be very difficult for an organization, such as a nonprofit, to reach on their own. Why? First, you don’t have access to your community’s friends. Second, growing your list is expensive and hard.
Growing your list by leaps and bounds takes not only monetary resources, but manpower—and a huge amount of time. Say you wanted to grow your list by 10,000. How many dinners, events, direct mailings, print ads, boosted Facebook ads, etc., would you have to do? Would these efforts all be effective? Would they be reaching an engaged community with a high likelihood of having your message resonate with them? What about the budget to make all of this happen? The staff? It kind of makes your head spin.
However, when you encourage your supporters to share the actions they’ve taken with your organization (a donation, a ticket purchase to an event, a personal experience, etc.), you are tapping into an otherwise impossible to reach network. This network is heavily invested in the life of the person sharing. The share is authentic and can create intrigue by the audience to take some sort of action themselves, whether it’s taking a look at the campaign page (awareness) making a donation or even sharing the original share with their network, thus
expanding reach even further.
Social shares have the power to create increased issue awareness for those organizations who need to let the world know a problem exists. They can increase general awareness connecting your organization’s work with people who may need your help or want to learn more. Social shares can bring in new donors from grassroots to high wealth and can also lead to new volunteers, new peer-to-peer fundraisers, new corporate partners and even new grantors.
Shares in Action
The average user on Facebook has 155 friends. Based on this number, how many “average” Facebook supporters would you need to share an action with your cause in order to reach 10,000 new people?
Sixty-five. Having just 65 supporters share with their Facebook community leads to over 10,000 connections that you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Those acts of social fundraising sound much more effective than trying to gain 10,000 new connections by organizing more galas, sending more direct mail or pounding the pavement.
Another word problem: Say you had 300 donors who each donated $100 on
average to your campaign. In a perfect world, they all share their donation. Based on the numbers, that could add another $6,900 to your campaign (300 donors sharing x $23 average share value). And just like that, your campaign raises 23 percent more.
And, depending on what’s going on in the lifecycle of a supporter, sometimes they can’t give monetarily at a given moment. But they could still lend their voice and share, and when donors share their donation, it results in a new donation about 20 percent of the time.
Let’s look at some numbers regarding the average donation value by type of share:
- $13 when a supporter shares an online campaign page
- $23 when a donation is shared
- $63 when a campaign organizer shares their campaign
Like we said in the beginning, there is no reason to rethink your current events, campaigns or budget. Social fundraising is something that can be layered onto everything you’re already doing. It’s a powerful strategy that can add tremendous value to all of your fundraising campaigns. When you tap into the power of social fundraising and encourage supporters to share each action they take with your cause, those shares will spread in an authentic way leading to more awareness, supporters and donations.
Gary Wohlfeill is the director of Brand & Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “third best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise" and hopes one day to slip to fourth.