7 Keys to use Social Networking in Fundraising

A lot has been made of social networking in recent years.

What exactly is it?  What does it achieve?  How do you use it?

In my opinion, I believe there is little that you can expect in fundraising through social media networks, especially via Facebook and the like.

Fundraising is still a contact sport, and it always will be.  You can’t make money by sitting behind your computer.  You have to go out and talk to people.

But after the Haiti disaster in January of this year, we saw a lot of things happening.  The American Red Cross raised close to $40 million through $10 donations on mobile phones.  People were using Twitter to give on the ground reports that were more thorough and trust worthy than major news outlets. Groups formed on Facebook in order to respond to the event.

So is an event like Haiti an anomaly, or the new norm?

That remains to be seen.

But I can offer these 7 helpful keys to use social networking for charity fundraising to help get your campaigns off the ground:

  1. Update your website. Your website is the entry point to your organization for the majority of people.  So a) make sure you have a website, and b) invest the time and resources in doing right.
  2. Keep your message really simple. Have a good tagline or slogan.  Make it short, memorable, and simple.  Somebody visiting your website should know exactly what your organization does in 10 seconds or less.
  3. Make your content easy to share, cut and paste.  You are targeting the masses, not the most tech savvy.  Provide information that is easy to obtain online.
  4. Use video and visual aids. Put them right on your website.  Create a memorable video.  It doesn’t have to be done for a lot of money. One of the most effective videos I’ve seen used a photo slide show and touching music.
  5. Integrate the offline with the online. You are still going to have to make phone calls and send mailings to accompany your social media campaign.  Think of ways to drive people to your website and social media in the real world.
  6. Be creative and take chances. The Internet is free to use. Putting together social media campaigns can be done at a very low cost. So don’t be afraid to do something different.  Social media is the one area where you don’t have to play it safe.  Remember that you are competing with millions of other voices and causes on the web, so you are going to need a way to stand out.
  7. Be patient and persistent.  Don’t lose faith. Recognize that a good online presence takes time to build.  People aren’t always going to flock to you. Rather, you have to be aggressive in building a community, staying in touch with stakeholders, and communicating your message.  It will pay off in the long run, but it does take time.

I hope this is helpful.

If there is anybody out there who has an example of effective fundraising with social media, then I’d love to hear about it.

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