Web Watch: Social-Media Fundraising for the Little Guy
There are also many small nonprofits taking advantage of unique opportunities online to leverage the power of social media in their favor. Take the organizations partnering with GiveAndDate.com, a charity dating service that makes connections between cause-minded individuals and donates part of the proceeds to partner organizations, which are all New York-based nonprofit organizations.
Some organizations, though small, are having success by tapping into active constituencies online. Consider Critical Exposure, which recently won $5,000 in funding and a permanent spot on the GlobalGiving.com fundraising site by mobilizing its small but motivated community of supporters to partake in a fundraising competition. Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, one of Big Duck's clients, recently got an opportunity to participate in a Facebook competition for a grant from Intel. It's not the biggest organization on the list by a very long shot, but at the time of this writing, it's No. 2 overall. Your constituency might not be the largest, but in social media, it doesn't have to be — it just has to be the most motivated. A small group can make a very loud splash by activating networks and empowering those who are deeply committed to your cause to work on your behalf.
One aspect of social media that has some as-yet-unrealized potential for small nonprofits is microfundraising — gathering donations a few dollars at a time through Twitter or other social-networking services. In the coming months, expect to hear more about nonprofits making innovative use of microfundraising in their campaigns.
So take small steps — tap into the power of Facebook Causes and friendraising, keep your ear out for unique opportunities that could raise awareness or money for your cause, and energize your core constituents on your behalf. And while you're at it, keep an eye on what the biggest nonprofits are doing in social media — eventually, the tactics they're pioneering will become viable (and useful) even for nonprofits that don't have full communications staffs.
And as always, think strategically. Make sure you know where your fundraising audience is hanging out, and focus on those places. Don't jump into social media if there's no chance that your potential donors are there. That's unlikely, but do your homework and focus your online energies in the places that make the most sense for your organization. FS