What do you need to fundraise on social media?

By | May 4, 2012

It occurred to me that we talk about this a lot but haven’t really written it all down outside of presentation form.  Some of these items are very broad, some very specific.  Not all are essential, but they all help.  Here goes:

  1. Your communications and development (fundraising) staff should be buddies.  Break down those silos, and settle those turf battles.  The communications folks can do it on their own, because they control the Facebook page, but the campaigns will be much more successful if everyone’s working together.
  2. Know how you’ve gotten online donations in general.  Who?  Why?  Be familiar with what a “conversion rate” and “conversion funnel” is in the context of online fundraising.  The same knowledge will serve you well on social media.  So will the process of shortening and simplifying the donation form on your website, as well as making it mobile friendly and accessible.
  3. Continue building partnerships, and be sure to do so on social media.  Like pages and follow profiles of partners, funders, grantees, local media, your volunteers, and everybody else who rocks your offline world too.  Tag them in Facebook posts.  Retweet them.  These are the people who will help your fundraising campaign reach 30,000 people instead of the 300 who follow you.
  4. Rename your “donor database” a “supporter database.”  Supporters can contribute by volunteering, sharing, retweeting, Liking, emailing, running (a 10k), referring, cheerleading, and of course donating too.  Make it easy to identify how an individual can best help.
  5. Is someone listening?  Do you mostly broadcast stuff out through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or is someone hanging out in HootSuite or TweetDeck answering questions, retweeting, and listening?

Done all that? You want something more specific?  How about these:

  1. A way to accept payments on social media. Yes, you can link back to your website’s donation form, but consider adding a Facebook tab app too.
  2. Do something special.  If you just ask people to give on social media, they won’t. Tell them why, and who they are helping, and they might.  Throw in a prize, video stories from recipients of care, shout-outs from a local celebrity, and you’re getting somewhere.  It doesn’t have to cost money, you can invent a “Facebook Fan of the Week” and award them with a hokey prize, and post about them.
  3. When somebody shares the link, what image and description pops up?  Make sure those are attention grabbing and compelling.  Facebook uses the Open Graph protocol.
  4. Gamify it. This means think about the incentives people have for sharing your content, and figure out how to align the goals of the campaign with that. Pay particular attention to what it means for someone to share and create awareness, versus give and drive donations.  Some content is good for one, but not the other.

Did you notice how few of those items are directly related to social media tactics?  We can help you with all of the above, and I’ll bet we’ll return to this post to add things as we continue learning.  For now, enjoy!  What made social media fundraising successful for you?  What helped you turn the corner?