What I Learned About Fundraising Using Social Media This Week- Part 2

Abigail HarmonFor those of you who read my articles each week, you will know that last week, in the Part 1 of this article, I talked about what I learned at a seminar on fundraising using social media.

We did an exercise examining the age demographics of donors and what type of social media we thought they would be accessing. I translated that to mean – meet the donors where they are. A sound strategy on- or off-line.

And then, the secret to successful fundraising on social media, occurred to me. The rules don’t change just because the medium does. So here are my tips:

  1. People still give to organizations that offer a good reason to give to them – not because they saw a tweet, status update or pin. Figure out how social media can further the rest of your marketing channels (like your website) not create new ones -this is especially true if you have limited time to use Facebook or Twitter.
  2. You have created a way of interacting with your donors (tone, language, etc.) – don’t change it to feel more hip or likable – you will sound fake and less worthy of a gift than when you started your social media campaign.
  3. Make sure all of your interactions sound like they are from a real person. Have a sense of humor if appropriate. Be sad or concerned about a current event. Generic posts do not help you anymore than a three-page list of everything your organization has done for the past four months. No one will want to read either.
  4. Social media is meant to be interactive. Repost other people’s articles. Ask questions and listen for responses. Engage with the respondents. Pin images that are similar to the hopes and dreams of your organization.
  5. Be creative. We are still talking about a marketing stream. The bucket challenge will not be re-created by you or any other organization. It was successful because it was creative, hit at slow news cycle and capitalized on the current trends of narcissistic fundraising (that’s what I call the concept of using Facebook or Instagram to show how philanthropic we are while showing off the cute kids or silly images we love to post on social media.) But it started taking flight because it was creative in its concept and use of a variety of media.
  6. Just do it. If you want to fundraise using social media (or your board or donors want you to) you have to just start scheduling it into your week. Each time you do it, it will be easier. I promise.

I know this second article is also longer than I would like, but I did promise to explain the “digital split of 1993” which I referenced last week. (It is probably more of an early 90s digital split but it doesn’t sound nearly as enticing.)

The idea of the digital split of 1993 has no proof, just a simple observation that my husband and I have seen among our friends, relatives and colleagues. Sometime during the early 90s, college students changed from using electric typewriters (some which stored the paper we were writing on tiny disks!) to using computers for each and every paper. Email became an accepted and expected form of communication around the same time. It is the difference between people who see technology as something to learn vs. something that is a part of who they are.

Of course this is a gross generalization. I like technology, but I will never have the same relationship with it that people, just a few years younger do. I suspect my kids will one day reference the divide as pre-social media and post-, but I will let them write that in their own newsletters (or social media outlets) years from now.