Social Media & Relationship Building May Not Mean Immediate Money — and That's OK!
The overlap between fundraising and "mission-raising" is significant because as mentioned before, this is about creating a dialogue and an opportunity for engagement between your brand and consumers, not to mention consumer-to-consumer.
Here is a collection of ideas and strategies that are popular and successful:
- Take the opportunity to capture feedback from people visiting your Facebook pages and through your Twitter posts. Constituents have told us time and time again they want a dialogue, not a one-way conversation. Use a survey link in your posts and simply ask them to provide their opinions about your organization, their experiences and what they would like to see done differently.
- Due to the nature of how people use Facebook, take the opportunity to tell your story. There are readership limits and longer posts are not always best, so keep that in mind. But tell your story through a series of posts to create ongoing readership and engagement.
- To the point above, when telling your story don't forget the amazing connections achieved through photos and video messaging. For years we've talked about "putting a face on the organization" — this is the easiest way to do it. It also creates a natural link to your YouTube channel. Don't have one? GET ONE! Video messages often garner the strongest sense of connection to a brand. Every nonprofit has libraries of amazing videos — testimonials, events, mission education, etc. Gather those up, put them on YouTube, and create a connection with people by posting those links on Twitter and Facebook. You can even enable your constituents to provide their own videos of when they have engaged with your brand or your mission.
- While it is different from asking for feedback, creating an environment on your social-media sites for people to share their own personal stories is important. No matter what kind of charity you are, there are people who have been touched by your organization or the cause you represent in one way or another. Providing a platform for people to share their stories is a step toward a stronger connection to your brand and also creates a connection between your constituents. Granted, you can't control what is said and it might make you bristle sometimes, but expression is a part of social interaction and it's better to hear/read what they are thinking than not be aware. Take any negative stories and find a way to turn them into opportunities for your organization to improve or learn.
- One of the most challenging things for nonprofits is finding ways to show progress and report results. Many organizations continue to get feedback from their donors that messaging is lacking real information about how the money is being used and what progress is being made against the mission. These engagement channels are perfect for pushing results-based dialogue to your constituents and their "friends," fans and followers.
- Raising direct donations is not a bad strategy, but you must be patient. Remember, consumers expect engagement, a dialogue and a relationship. Through all the outreach, storytelling and messaging you provide through your channels, you are paying into the relationship with your constituents. Asking them to pay into the relationship with you and support your mission and fundraising goals is appropriate at the right time.
- Last but not least — recruiting volunteers for a community or virtual event is an obvious opportunity. In fact, this is how the majority of organizations got started in social media, and it continues to be a very successful strategy. There are very well-documented best practices around this topic.
The primary advice that runs through all of this is to take your time and do it right. You are building relationships, and that is not going to happen overnight. Be consistent, be true to your mission, and stay active on these channels. It works.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.