The Frontier of Social Media and Fundraising: What to Expect?
Thirdly, the returns will seem modest at first. A recent example I saw — a nonprofit decided to make its first “ask” to its 150,000 Facebook followers. The result? About 400 people gave an average of $5 each via PayPal. Compared to an integrated direct-mail and e-mail campaign, those results look disappointing. And, there are the associated pains with integration; it was impossible to know which of those donors were already on the charity’s database, let alone to start a donor-development program for the first-timers.
Lastly, creativity will help you stand out from the crowd. Charity: water is well-known for its Twitter-originated fundraising events (or Twestivals), but you won’t replicate its success by mimicking its campaigns — there are only so many Twestivals you can have. What made its campaign successful was the creativity, and it snowballed as a result. You can buy books about what works in direct mail, and you can even buy books about how to run e-mail campaigns, but social media is still in its frontier days, so there’s a chance to get seen and heard by doing something different.
Robin Fisk is a senior charity technology specialist at Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit software provider Advanced Solutions International (ASI).