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Fun(!)draising and social networks
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Fun(!)draising and social networksAs the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter continues to grow, so do the opportunities for nonprofit organizations to embrace new fundraising strategies. Often referred to as philanthropy 2.0, incorporating the use of social networking into a fundraising campaign can prove to be an effective tool in meeting development goals and growing your donor base.

Fundraising through social networks is not totally unlike traditional fundraising strategies; it depends on relationships and trust to be successful. You will need to take the time and effort to engage your audiences—while explaining your cause and the differences you are making—in order to build these relationships and trust before venturing into “ask” territory.

At the heart of philanthropy 2.0, there are two basic strategies: use social networking as a component within a larger campaign to spread the word and drive traffic to a campaign web page, or create smaller campaigns using only social networks in hopes of acquiring micro-gifts.

Strategy 1: Social networking as PART of an integrated campaign
Using this strategy, your website will be integral to spreading the word. Create a campaign-related page that includes a background of your cause, along with clear and prominent ways for donors to give and links to your social networks. Use your social networks to drive donors to this page and make a gift. Consider the following tactics as parts to your integrated campaign:

  • Blog your cause

Blogs provide the perfect venue for getting the word out about your cause or campaign. Share stories that will inspire people to give. Encourage users to comment and share their own stories. Remember to link back to your campaign web page prominently and often.

  • Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook

Much like the blog, you can use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word, share updates and provide donation links. You can also add your organization to Facebook Causes—a part of Facebook devoted to nonprofits and causes attempting to rally support and increase visibility on Facebook.

  • Hold a virtual contest, raffle or giveaway

Encourage potential donors to interact with your organization through social media channels by offering a contest, raffle or giveaway. Ask them to “register to win” branded items like a Jerzees Cotton T-Shirt or a Spooner Mug as a way of increasing your fan base or followers. For those visitors who become truly engaged in your social media efforts, offer them fun items like a USB Swing Flash Drive or an M&M’s® Tube to say thank you for their continued interaction. Try enticing increased giving with a raffle to win larger, impressive items like the Star Treat Box or an Organic Market Bag Set. (*Note: Before conducting a raffle of any kind, be sure to check raffle laws in your state.)

Social networking as THE campaign
This strategy’s goal is to obtain a significant number of “micro-gifts”—gifts of $10 or less—using just social media channels like Facebook or Twitter. The strategy is meant to be short-lived and is often limited to 24 hours or less, which may require you to prime your audiences in advance.

  • Tweet your way to the goal
    Twitter has proven to be a successful method for nonprofit organizations to raise money in a short time period. Tools like Twitpay and Tweet for Good allow users to tweet their cause and provide a direct link for their followers to contribute.
  • Focus on Facebook
    Use a Chipin widget to kick off a campaign on your nonprofit’s Facebook page and share donations in real time. Then call your fans to action with a wall post, note or message. Ask that they give $1 or $5 and ask their friends to do the same.

After you choose a strategy and carry out a successful campaign, thank everyone who participated. For those who went above and beyond in spreading the word or those who donated substantially, thank them by sending a gift along with a note. Try a Carabiner Aluminum LED Flashlight with a “Thanks for shining some light on our cause!” note or a Shiny Heart Note Nest with a note that says “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

One more thing: don’t forget to have fun! Regardless of the strategy your nonprofit chooses or the amount of money raised, your nonprofit will benefit—you will have reached out to new prospects and spread the word of your nonprofit or cause.

For more information on social media fundraising, visit one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits — Beth Kanter’s blog!

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