Social media as a fundraising tool – some hard facts

Howard Lake | 13 February 2012 | Blogs

Whilst social media is still perceived as a cool set of communications tools, the debate continues to rage regarding hard facts-based ROI for fundraisers. This new article and infographic from the Care2 network shows a picture from the USA which suggests these channels are valued but that direct mail is still the daddy when it comes to fundraising success.

I’ve seen better results from UK charities (the now infamous NSPCC Facebook campaign and Comic Relief to name just two) so what do UK fundraisers think of this experience from the USA? Does it mirror what we’re seeing here or are we ahead of the curve in terms of using social media for fundraising as opposed to building awareness?

I have a suspicion, founded in experience and common sense, that charities effectively using social media are doing so for fundraising and awareness raising, reputation building and engagement with supporters COLLECTIVELY.  Unlike other communciations media, I simply don’t think that these disciplines are separate in the way they have been historically.  Successful charities are using social media to inform and engage – letting the target individual decide just how much they want to be engaged but providing plenty of reasons for them to do so.

Providing valued reasons to engage – even only very gently, say, for one campaign – then gives the charity the ‘right to ask’ for donations.  In marketing theory this is called a value equation and applies to the emotional and rational value that a charity’s work gives a donor in exchange for their money.  Social media makes it much easier to share our valuable stories by integrating our communications in this way and consistnently providing our audiences with reminders of the reasons they want to support or donate to us.

What do you think?  How is your charity earning the right to ask for donations using social media?

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