Online Fundraising Basics: Lesson 7
Thanks for checking out another lesson in our online fundraising course. If you haven’t had a chance to check out earlier lessons, you don’t want to miss any of the great tools that can help you with your online fundraising efforts. Last time, we looked at building relationships with your online donors by using email. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at using social media for nonprofit fundraising, and how to leverage it to increase online giving.
Nowadays, people build careers around social media. It’s a thing. But you don’t have time for all of that. You will need to start small. Pick a few platforms you know well, and stick with them to establish your presence and start building your network.
How Using Social Media Can Help
Here are some solid principles that will help you generate new gifts for your nonprofit:
- Social media can be used to disburse information. That’s easy to see. However, it can be used for a lot more than that. Use social media to connect with your supporters and help them understand your cause. Tell your story.
- The fundraising power in social media provides you instant credibility when your own donors and supporters pass your messages along.
- Plan ahead and get creative. Build a social media calendar that will help you map out what kinds of information and stories you will release over time. Try to vary the type of content you post. Share information like upcoming events, special accomplishments, impact stories, and pictures. Ask questions, and occasionally ask for donations. When posting, use the three-to-one or four-to-one rule. In other words, post three or four things of value to the audience for every one post that asks the audience to do something (comment, give money, etc.).
- Provide links back to your website and your donation page whenever it’s appropriate.
- Get your supporters to talk about you. Ask them to talk about how your organization impacted them. Then share their stories.
- Don’t forget to train your volunteers to interact on social media. Encourage them to create and maintain their own accounts so they can interact with the organization’s account.
The various platforms are unique, each suited for different types of content. Here are some high-level guidelines on how to use Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter to help you with your online endeavors.
How To Engage Donors On Facebook
- Facebook is an environment that supports two-way conversations. Ask lots of questions, share your stories, promote events, and promote your mission.
- Images and videos stand out, so use high-quality images with each post.
- Facebook allows stories to be fully developed, without a character limit. Therefore, it is a good place to share your stories of impact, or a specific need, and then ask for donations.
How To Engage Donors On Pinterest
Pinterest is a visual bookmarking application. It gives you a place to post pictures of things that interest you, along with a link back to the original site. What you end up with is a collection of pictures that are relevant to your organization. This makes it a perfect place to show what your organization needs and provide instructions on how to donate.
How To Engage Donors On Twitter
Twitter has been referred to as a microblog. It is simply a place to post short status updates, known as tweets. You can connect with others and follow information trends. Use Twitter in the following ways:
- Provide information about what’s happening in your organization.
- Post information about upcoming events.
- Heighten interest for your events by posting tweets during the event.
- Post pictures.
- Post links back to your website and donation page.
- Tweet about donations. Let your donors know they are making a difference.
Remember, technology can be great for building relationships with donors and potential donors. Social media emphasizes communication and relationships. However, the communication tool is only as good as the person or organization using the tool. Make sure every post or tweet has relational value for your people. It’s good to inform, but it’s better to inform in a way that adds value to the lives of your donors and potential donors. So as you post, think about the donor first. They’ll feel more connected to your cause, and you’ll deepen the relationship.
For more specific information about social media platforms, check out this post from mediacause.com about using social media for nonprofits or take a look at the many social media resources offered by the Case Foundation.
Incorporating Online Donations Into Offline Fundraising
We’ve discussed some basics of online fundraising, covered a number of useful tools in online fundraising, so now you should feel pretty comfortable with the concept. In our final lesson, we’ll give you some suggestions on how you can be a successful online fundraiser.