Social Media Fundraising Lessons
Posted by Allison Fine on March 22, 2010
Stacy Palmer of the Chronicle of Philanthropy invited me to participate in a reporters briefing called the New Nonprofit Reality. The co-hosts are Edelman, the Chronicle and The Bridgespan Group. I will be sharing the panel with Stacy Palmer of the Chronicle and Ken Berger of Charity Navigator.
My charge is to help answer this question:
How is technology influencing public perception of nonprofits as well as fundraising efforts? (Talk about Haiti as a fundraising case study)
1. Just to clarify my perspective, I will offer my thoughts on how social media can help build relationships with communities of people. I really don’t know anything about hardware or software, big boxes and cold rooms are anathema to me! But I do know something about ways that nonprofits are using the array of social media channels to connect with people, learn from them, build relationships with them to further their causes.
2. Organizations that are focused on friends first, funds second are doing better with social media. The Humane Society spent several years building their friends on MySpace and Facebook. It was only last year that they asked for funds as part of their Spay Day contest that Beth writes about it here.
3. Beware the silver bullet! Text message fundraising was a perfect vehicle for the Red Cross to use after the earthquake in Haiti. But as I wrote here, it shouldn’t be assumed that other organizations with less urgent needs can use it to the same effect. It was an intersection of tool and time that made it work so well – in addition to Wendy Harmon being a great planner and preparing for just this kind of opportunity.
4. Moore’s Law applies to fundraising with social media. Moore’s Law describes the double of computing speed every two years. In the same way, the use of social media for fundraising (not just using websites as portal for giving but using social media like Facbook to raise friends and funds) will increase geometrically. Blackbaud reported last year that online giving was still small part of the fundraising pie, but the percentage has increased significantly just in the first quarter of this year and will continue to do so. Just because it’s small now, just because people expected Causes to be a money spigot, doesn’t mean that it has leveled off. We are just beginning the climb.
5. While the volume of giving is growing online, the dollar amounts are low. Are social media channels simply online direct mail, or will donors be able and willing to give larger amounts over time? It depends largely on whether and how relationships are built with donors. It also depends on how Millennials ultimately begin to give to causes. They, like everyone else, are beginning to dip their toe into fundraising using social media, but will they eventually become bigger donors to specific institutions over time, or will they spread themselves around and give little amounts to lots of causes? We’ll have to wait and see!
So, these are just my thoughts right now about this very big and important topic. Please let me know other things I should be thinking about, thanks!
This entry was posted on March 22, 2010 at 9:58 am and is filed under Social Media. Tagged: Charity Navigator, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Edelman, The Bridgepsan Group. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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