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Social Fundraising: Engage New Supporters Through Personal Connections

Social fundraising is one of those strategies people aren’t entirely sure about yet. How much does it really help when people share your organization on social media? Nonprofit Tech for Good, “The arc of success for digital fundraising has just begun.” As people like and share more about what organizations are doing, the likelihood of information landing on the radar of a future donor increases significantly.

Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that spread like wildfire? It’s one social fundraising campaign that took off quickly and ended up surpassing its goal coming in at a whopping $115 million. Of course, in this case, it involved watching videos of countless friends and family members getting doused with ice water. But the fact is that people pay attention to things that other people care about, or post to social networks about. And for the foreseeable future, this method of social network sharing is going to set organizations up for success.

Why invest in social fundraising

Some other reasons for social fundraising strategy success include:

  1. It’s trending. We don’t advocate jumping on the bandwagon just to be on it, but in this case, the wagon is getting more people for a reason: it’s working. Countless organizations are transferring the focus over to social networking on a number of sites. As more organizations get on board with social fundraising, the stakes become higher and more meaningful.

  2. It doesn’t cost much. One of the best parts of social fundraising is that it doesn’t take a ton of start-up money. Many new methods of fundraising involve forking over large amounts of cash in order to launch a new kind of strategy. The great part of social fundraising is that you’re building on a foundation you already have, so there’s no massive cost.

  3. People love a personal reference. Open your phone and you’re immediately bombarded with advertisements and information about the products you need – new apps, subscriptions, and products. It’s hard to know what to trust, and what’s worth budgeting for. With a personal endorsement from a friend on Facebook, it’s a little easier to trust the product or know the organization is worth donating to.

  4. It targets future generations. More people are routing funds through mobile apps and online transactions. While older forms of payment are becoming less and less frequent, the future of fundraising looks hopeful with future generations using social media as a means to engage donors.

  5. It works. Many large organizations have seen a significant return by upping their social fundraising game, especially considering the investment aspect is low. Social fundraising uses personal endorsement to improve existing connections, reach new prospects, and engage donors across generations.

What’s in a share?

When someone shares an experience or a post about an experience from your organization, it allows a large number of people to suddenly become aware of you. The alternative – a traditional email campaign or one trying to make new connections to earn followers – can be time-consuming and frustrating.

On the other hand, when someone shares an action or posts about your organization, your access to new followers (and possible prospects) multiplies immediately. As people scroll through a newsfeed and see what their friends care about, they’re likely to click and follow.

According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, “21% of peer-to-peer fundraising dollars raised are the result of a direct click-through on social media.” These numbers are slowly and steadily increasing each year as more and more people engage with their favorite charities and institutions online. Every share has the potential to access a new group of people in a personal way.

Social methods for the future

So, what does social fundraising really mean? It can be defined in a number of ways. First, think about when you wake up in the morning – maybe you go straight to emails, while others check Facebook or Instagram – in most cases, it’s some form of communication platform.

Social fundraising boils down to these communication platforms. Anytime someone shares information about your organization, you’re banking on that person’s social connection to mean something and your product or cause to become available to someone you wouldn’t have access to outside of that connector relationship.

Some social fundraising involves making direct asks on social media and encouraging others to share. Other methods include tagging people who are already engaged in a “thank you” so that others can see their involvement and will be interested in joining the cause. Some organizations leverage quick updates on progress towards a specific goal to incite help in reaching the goal. Others offer different kinds of rewards for participation in a specific goal.

Regardless of method, one of the base goals of social fundraising is to create a following where you have easier and quicker access to more people.

What matters

So what’s the take away about social fundraising? First, it requires less money and effort than other methods of fundraising by leveraging the help of followers who are already engaged. It’s a personal way to connect with people you may not otherwise have access to. Shares by engaged supporters add a level of credibility to your organization.

With an increasingly mobile society, social fundraising is one of the most promising methods for fundraising in the future. By expanding networks and sharing interesting information, any organization can enlarge their following and be more relevant in the social world.


Sources & Additional Reading


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