I speak to nonprofits every week. I have to admit, some executive directors and fundraisers love social media and others hate it. Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay so you better get used to it. And, more importantly, you should try to work it into your overall planning.
I’ve had chats with folks who’ve told me they’re working on social media but they’re not seeing results. The most important thing to know about social media is that it’s not a stand-alone marketing or fundraising tool. It has to be used as part of a multi-channel program.
For those organizations that use social media consistently and effectively, social media is an excellent way to help raise brand visibility. It’s also a good tool for fundraising. If you haven’t done so already, this is a great time of year for you to begin to test social media fundraising. That way, as you go into the year-end, you know what works and what doesn’t for your organization.
- When you’re posting on social media for fundraising purposes, you must have a call to action. You’ve told your story. You have a great picture or video, but you don’t have a call to action on your post. Want to know the number one reason why people don’t give? They weren’t asked.
- Response rate increases with a responsive site. A survey done by Blackbaud showed that donors were 34 percent more likely to give through a link tied to a responsive website.
- Don’t forget about LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great platform for business minded people. You can also get a lot of awareness (and donations). Create a group and message your contacts to join your group. If you’re doing a special fundraiser, send a group message asking people to support a great cause.
- Individuals who earn $25,000 or less give a higher proportion of their income to charity. The higher you go in earnings, the smaller the percentage of income donated to philanthropy. People who earn $25K or less give 16.6% of their income. That means you shouldn’t assume that only the wealthy give to charity.
- Create a social media volunteer corp. Social is all about engagement. You want to get people to enter into a conversation with you. One of the best things you can do is ask your supporters to help you amplify your voice. By creating a volunteer program, shareable posts and tweets, and directly asking your supporters to share, you’re able to go beyond your own followers. Create a program of social media volunteers to help you promote and fundraise for your cause.
- Post at the right times on Facebook. Most of us know Facebook is the grand-daddy of the social media world. Your posts on Facebook have a short life – in other words, you’ll get most of your engagements on Facebook within the first 90 minutes of posting. Post during the business day. Stay away from nights. Some people think weekends work. If you want to try it, go ahead, but always test engagement. Figure out the best times of engagement for your posts.
- Ask questions and engage. It’s all about social networking. That means it’s a two-way street. In order to know what your supporters want to see, you have to ask questions. Ask them what they think about your work. When followers comment on your posts, respond back to them. Ask them what may have resonated and why.
People say they hate asking others for money, but the truth is that more and more organizations’ existence and success depend on their ability to do just that – raise money. As you probably know, the fancy words for such money-making events and donations are usually referred to as fundraisers and grants. Of course, in order to be able to get other people to give you money, you will first need to clearly define your purpose, goals, target audience, and reasons for hosting a fundraising campaign. It is very important to take this endeavor seriously as fundraising and grant proposals are complicated and require the help of a professional willing to walk you through it, every step of the way.
Fundraising can be hectic, especially if one doesn’t know how to go about it. “Does our organization need a fundraising consultant?” Before we get to the answer of this question, you will first need to answer some other ones:
• Do you have the necessary skills to ensure success?
• Do you have a plan to make this a reality?
• Do you have time to cover all the loopholes and keep up with the latest, greatest fundraising ideas?
If the answer is NO, then it is best to hire a fundraising consultant who is specialized in grant writing. This professional is familiar with all the market networking aspects incorporated in fundraising and has developed unique and effective strategies to help you win the hearts of donors.
Fundraising consultants are highly skilled and experienced in “what works” and “what does not work” which is necessary in this niche line of work. They are extremely efficient in crafting fundraising plans that guarantee positive results and utilize social media, email, websites, and other platforms to secure new donors and strengthen existing donor relations. The choice of fundraising consultants matters. The first priority of the fundraising expert should be to meet your ultimate goal by helping you raise as much money as possible. They should save you time, help you plan, and most importantly, guarantee success. Reliable fundraising consultants will be able to provide the necessary solutions to your problems at a desirable price. The difference that these consultants will make to the wealth of your organization will make you realize the true value of your money. This, in turn, will make you see the consultant as a great investment.
Grant writing is an important component of most fundraising. A successful grant proposal will enable the organization to build capacity, strengthen programs, and implement new and innovative programs. Expertise is needed to ensure this is done perfectly, avoiding the common mistakes done while writing grant proposals. The opportunities for implementing grants in your fundraising plan are numerous if you can come up with an idea that brings your organization money. When it comes to choosing who takes you through the grant-writing process, you only really have two options. You can either choose an employee to do it or hire a grant writer. There is nothing wrong with either approach; the only thing that matters is meeting the goal. Many organizations are uncomfortable with the UNKNOWN; they are afraid of hiring experts they “don’t know.” The truth is, in most cases, they yield better results simply because they are more experienced than internal employees who write for the organization. They say the world is all about adventure so, why not try?
There is a wide range of fundraising opportunities and millions of potential donors. Did you know that there are over fifty billion dollars awarded to organizations annually? Why wouldn’t your organization be one of them? If you think applying for grants is easy, you are definitely misguided. This is why you need a talented grant writer to do your homework. There is no magical approach to getting your application through successfully. A good grant writer will do the intensive research, constantly keeping the focus on the ultimate goal. If you choose a professional equipped with the necessary skill set and experience to do your homework, well, you can be assured that they will achieve the success they’ve promised.
Crowdfunding platforms and other types of personal funding websites are used more and more by NGO’s and people who seek to fundraise online. The internet gives these users the opportunity to truly expand fundraising efforts and transcend national borders.
Despite the huge potential, most campaigns are locally focused, meaning that the majority of the contributors usually come from one country. Once in a while, a campaign reaches out to donors internationally. These tend to be campaigns that are popular in TV and become viral for some reason. We see these happening in the case of people affected by tragedies like earthquakes, floodings, or some other type of personal tragic episode.
Reaching out to donors in several countries is not easy, but with tools like Facebook, Twitter and reddit, it becomes increasingly easier.
The number one asset that the user starting a crowdfunding campaign has is its own network. It is his network of people that will make or break his campaign. It is for this reason essential that the user engages and keeps his network interested in its fundraising efforts.
Creating a sense of urgency and excitement is essential for these type of campaigns, as it will make people share and expand the marketing efforts. Most people’s social networks expand to different places, beyond national borders and it is this sense of excitement that will make people engaged and supportive of the campaign.
Remember that every crowdfunding campaign needs a lot work beforehand in order to be successful. Not all crowdfunding campaigns are created equal. If you just upload a couple of sentences and write a couple of paragraphs like “help me pay my bills, I’m broke”, you’ll probably won’t receive much support. Every crowdfunding campaign comes across these type of user once in a while, and the truth is that not many people are willing to chip in and support these type of campaigns.
So if we could provide one key advise it would be to really study the assets that you currently have in terms of network. Check out not only your Facebook contacts, but also your email lists. Even those people that you haven’t heard of in a long time could be a key asset in multiplying your fundraising efforts. Shake the shyness away and drop them an email, tell them that you are starting a fundraising campaign and ask them to help you in expanding the reach of your campaign. You won’t regret it in the end.