LinkedIn is no longer just another job-related social network. Used by all professionals across…
According to npENGAGE, online fundraising is a critical territory in the non-profit industry, a fact proven by a 34.5% growth rate amounting to $20 billion in 2010 alone. This is why many charities have started locating, engaging and cultivating donors through online channels. Social media especially has shown potential as online competitions and viral video campaigns allow more and deeper donor engagement. In fact, charities such as For Love of Children (FLOC) spend a considerable amount of time using this channel. Via Facebook, FLOC was able to generate $114,000 in 2013, of which $87,000 was collected during the one-day competition Give to the Max.
Social media, however, can do much more than just generate money for charities. According to a 2010 survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, social media users become more involved through one of the following five methods:
- Money Donations (40%)
- Discussing the Cause (40%)
- Taking Interest in the Cause and Learning About it (37%)
- Food, Clothing, etc. Donations (30%)
- Signing a Petition (27%)
Donors too enjoy raising funds through social media. A 2013 study by GlobalGiving showed that individuals appreciate being part of the majority while donating. And nothing can be more social than today’s social media. So if these numbers inspire you to embrace social media to increase donor engagement, the following lines will teach you how you can make your Facebook and Twitter accounts into donation-making and awareness-spreading vehicles.
Increasing Donor Engagement with Facebook
According to a 2012 report by Charity Dynamics and NTEN, 30% of donors report visiting their favorite charities’ Facebook pages and liking them while only 21% rely on Twitter. Facebook is also the second most popular channel (15%) for spreading the word after email (51%) and the favorite platform for donors between 30 and 39 years. To take advantage of Facebook’s donor engagement capabilities, use the following tips.
1. Tell the Whole Story – Facebook allows you to write longer posts in comparison with Twitter’s 140-character limit. You can generate awareness by telling fans more about the cause. Your profile alone may be enough to represent you as long as you include all the information donors expect to find.
2. Include Success Stories – Use the generous word limit to write heartwarming success stories. Though videos may be a more appealing option, writing a story is bound to attract the largest age group that likes, follows and interacts with charities’ Facebook pages. Just make sure that the story is really compelling to win donors over.
3. Use Compelling Images – A picture is worth a thousand words. By using an image that represents your cause or the effects of donations, you can show people how they can help, increasing their engagement. The Red Cross relies on this technique while keeping the rest of their content simple. Though you can also use videos on Facebook as well, they have proven to be more effective on Twitter.
4. Start a Viral Campaign or Competition – Remember the ALS Ice Bucket challenge? According to The New York Times, 1.2 million videos were made between June 1 and August 13, 2014. The ALS Association reported over $100 million by August 29, 2014. Similar organizations such as the Motor Neuroe Disease Association were able to make up to £7 ($10.97) million. By following their lead, you can generate a viral campaign of your own or hold a competition and provide a gift that is linked to your charity.
Boosting Donor Engagement with Twitter
Though Twitter comes second to Facebook, there’s no doubt that it has a high rank with donors. According to the M+R and NTEN‘s 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study, Twitter’s annual growth is up to 46%. In addition, for every 1,000 email subscribers, non-profits have 110 Twitter followers as compared to 199 Facebook fans.
To further prove the power of Twitter, MDG Advertising reported in 2012 that using the social platform results in 10 times more donations. Conventional Twitter-enforced campaigns generated $256.72 on average while online donations made $225.90. In comparison, traditional campaigns made $70.55 while online ones made $22.97 without Twitter. To make your Twitter profile a success with donors and continue engaging them, use the following tips.
1. Create a Story Arc – If you’re in the middle of a project that takes more than a few days,you can post images, live tweets and videos documenting your actions. This serves two purposes – a) you get to ensure donators that their money is spent right, and b) you give them the chance to interact with you.
2. Have a Special Hashtag –Hashtags are considered the best way to group different forms of content together and make it discoverable across social networks. Disaster relief organization Team Rubicon uses this method on Twitter. Its #OpHumbleTrooper provides regular updates of what’s happening on the ground.
3. Use a Video to Inspire People – There’s no doubt that video is compelling as it combines sound, images and movement. You can use the same video for your website, email campaign and other efforts. Take a lead from buildOn, a school building project that uploaded a video on its rewarding experiences and promoted it on Twitter.
4. Recognize Donors’ Contributions – As you know by now, donors want to be part of a community that helps others. While some may want physical rewards for their generosity, many would love seeing a simple thank you. You can even record a video featuring the people whose lives these donations have touched and share it with your followers. Appreciation has always been an important component in customer engagement, and donors are bound to feel the same. So make sure to show your gratitude even if you’re not the one benefiting from the funds.
In addition to these tips, remember to always plan your social media interactions. That way, you won’t bore your followers/fans and can deliver the content they want to read. Also, keep in mind that engagement entails listening. So be ready to take feedback with a grain of salt and resolve matters politely. Only then can you actually win donors over and ultimately make a difference in peoples’ lives.