Translating Fans, Friends and Followers Into Funds
Total online giving in the United States has surpassed $10 billion — a 50 percent increase in just the past four years. Perhaps equally important, a recent study also showed that wealthy donors prefer to give online.
There’s no doubt about it — social media is a big deal. So, nonprofits, listen up: By creatively utilizing outlets like Facebook and Twitter, you can expand your reach and grow your donor base — efficiently and cost-effectively. Even in a tough economy. And — at the same time — you can provide potential donors with a virtually effortless way to increase their online awareness.
It’s a win-win, and here’s why. A survey conducted by Webs, an online research company, found that 69 percent of small businesses currently maintain some type of social-media presence. And those that don’t are planning to within the next several months. For large companies, it’s a similar story — although they tend to be more constrained by corporate guidelines. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the social-media pie. And that can mean dollars-and-cents opportunities for your organization.
Where to begin
So where do you begin? Start with your organization’s business network (companies on your e-mail list, Facebook page supporters, etc.) and identify those that might be interested in cultivating or expanding their online presence. You can enlist the help of a public relations agency to do this — or you can conduct your own outreach. In either case, the goal is to offer a fundraising “partnership” that will generate awareness, visibility and good will for both parties — plus donations for your organization. (Interestingly, this type of arrangement provides an added benefit for large companies: By teaming up with a nonprofit, they can generate online buzz without having to navigate corporate red tape.)
Once you’ve identified potential partners, offer them several options: