The Case (Studies) for Social Media
It's a refrain you hear over and over again: Fundraising truly is all about the donors, the supporters, the people who allow your organization to fulfill its mission. And nothing drives that point home like the phenomenon of social media. With sites like Twitter and Facebook, blogs, YouTube and [insert your social-networking platform of choice here], supporters are more involved — and in control — more than ever before. They drive the conversations. They spur new ideas. They do things their way.
So with all these great, new outreach and engagement tools at its disposal, how can your organization harness this still-new medium to empower constituents on your behalf? There are many strategies and initiatives already playing out all over the fundraising sector — with plenty more new and unforeseen ideas still to come. Here, FundRaising Success highlights some creative and successful ways organizations are using social media to raise awareness and funds.
Event fundraising — such as walks, runs and bike rides — really lends itself well to social media. Tools like Facebook and Twitter allow people to spread the word about an upcoming ride they're participating in and solicit pledge donations, for example.
"If we think about social media, it's all about peer-to-peer communications," says Donna Wilkins, president of online nonprofit solutions consultants Charity Dynamics. "It's communicating with your friends, people you already know, and for so many nonprofit events, what they are is peer-to-peer fundraising. There's really a lot of natural synergy."
Several organizations have had tremendous success at raising both awareness and funds using Facebook (and Twitter, for that matter) with fundraising widgets. They can be embedded on event participants' social-networking profiles and messages, displaying information such as: "X amount of days to reach my goal," "My goal: $10,000" or "Raised: $200." The widget specifies the event, and then links to a donation page for the organization so participants' friends, family and followers can make gifts on their behalf.