Tag Archives: social media

Achieving Maximum Revenue Online

There was a good article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy about how “Why Charities Need to Take a Long-Term Approach to Online Relationships.” (Source Here)

The gist of the article is that online fund raising is not the same as direct mail online.  Online donors are not ATM machines, and they can’t be expected to treated as such, if you want to them to come back and give again.  Similarly, the approach of email blasts to all of your constituents once a month is not the best approach to achieving maximum revenues either.

The strategy must involve a relationship-based approach.  There needs to be human interaction involved on the other end of the computer.  People want to feel like their concerns or opinions are being validated online, similar to a personal interaction.  In other words, the online process should be treated as similar to major gift fund raising. It is relationship building. Otherwise you can never expect to achieve increased revenue through social media efforts or web platforms.

This is a pretty logical and sensible statement. I would love to hear stories of the best and most successful online programs to date for nonprofit groups. Because to this point I haven’t heard many examples of social media and online donations to be stronger than face-to-face visits and in-person asks.


Achieving maximum dollars online


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Disaster Fundraising

A couple of weeks ago I read an interesting blog entry in Chronicle of Philanthropy about fundraising during a disaster (here).

It focuses on the American Red Cross during the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.  Haiti represented a unique situation in the shift to social media in response and readiness.  A lot of news coming out of Haiti was represented in short descriptions on Twitter, and on the ground first hand accounts in personal blogs.

Working as a major gifts fundraiser for the American Red Cross, I can say that there was a high level of activity on social networks, particularly Twitter and Facebook.  And that’s not even mentioning the nearly $40 million raised solely through $10 text donations, which is an incredible feat.

In the aftermath of the disaster, the Red Cross organized an Emergency Social Data Summit as a way to discuss handling important and timely information that was being disseminated through online channels during a disaster.  Furthermore, the Red Cross commissioned an online survey of 1,058 adults about their use of social media during times of crisis.  Here are some quick findings:

  1. 1 in 5 said they would try use e-mail, web sites, or social media for help (if 911 failed them).
  2. 7 out of 10 said that emergency responders should monitor their Web sites and social-media sites for requests for help.
  3. Nearly 75% said they expected help to arrive within an hour, if using those online channels.

I believe that the Haiti earthquake – and the response efforts following – represent a dramatic shift for emergency services and disaster response.  Moving forward, there is going to be a lot greater activity online and in social media.  Finding a way to accommodate that, and use it to their advantage, will be key for organizations like the American Red Cross.

The power of $10 text donations was evident during Haiti. The challenge will be to continue that momentum in the face of the next major disaster, and also to organize fundraising opportunities in other online channels and social media.  Also, something that made the Haiti disaster unique was the level of media exposure that it received, and the length of time it was in the news cycle. That is owing to the horror and raw visual power of the situation on the ground.

People couldn’t turn away from the TV screen.  There is something about a disaster that makes every day citizens feel week and helpless, and also compelled to help out in any way they are able to.  So it is important to note that social media will still go hand-in-hand with traditional media. Also, video sharing sites like YouTube are more important for first hand accounts, and for citizens to disseminate videos and news that isn’t going to make it on CNN or Fox News.

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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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