Time to Wade (Cautiously) Into Social Media
Social media has turned the giving pyramid on its head. With the traditional pyramid (occasional givers and event participants at the bottom, then annual/recurrent givers, then major givers, and planned and deferred givers at the top), fundraisers knew who their audience was and had a pretty good idea of how each segment would give.
Now, that's all less clear, and those at the bottom of the pyramid require nearly the same amount of time, energy and attention as those at the top.
So said Jocelyn Harmon, director of business development at Triplex Interactive, in the session "Bridging Your Direct Marketing and Social Media Activities for Fundraising Success" at the 2009 Bridge Conference held just outside Washington, D.C., in late July.
In a tough economy, with limited financial and human resources to work with, how should you allocate your time?
Harmon said when people ask her if they should have a Facebook profile, she recommends answering the following questions:
- What do you want to do?
- Where do your stakeholders live [online]?
- What's your capacity?
Understand the capabilities of the different media, think about what you want to do and fit your goal to a tool. For example:
- Awareness — build a presence on social networks.
- Activism — build a presence on social networks.
- Raise money — direct mail is still king. For example, total individual giving last year was more than $300 billion, and Facebook Causes raised $2 million. Online giving is, however, on the rise.
- Acquisition — Google Adwords, e-mail marketing, co-registration.
- All of the above — Most organizations don't have the capacity to do all of these things, so Harmon recommended created a hierarchy of which is most important to accomplish.
Content is king online, and it takes a lot of time to create. According to ThePort, the average nonprofit is allocating 25 percent of employee time to social media.