Getting Started with Social Media for Your Nonprofit of Do-Good Project: Raising Money on Social Networks

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This is the final post of a series that Britt Bravo and I have been working on for those just getting starting designing and implementing a "Do Good" project online.   Each post includes 10 starter tips on a different aspect of a do good project.  So far, we've covered:

Ten Questions To Get You Started Using Social Media for Your Nonprofit's Do Good Project

Ten Elements of an Effective Nonprofit or Do Good Blog

Ten Tips for Nonprofits To Do Good With Facebook Fan Pages

Ten Tips for Connecting Online/Offline Actions for Do Good Projects


The holiday giving season is right around the corner.  Many nonprofits and individuals will be launching year-end fundraising campaigns to support charitable work.    If you're thinking about using social media tools as part of your strategy, here's some tips.


1. Use More Than One Channel:   You will have far more successful if your campaign uses other channels to get the ask out there.   This includes email, web site, direct mail, and even face-to-face solicitations.    Don't forget about hosting house parties and events.   All those techniques are tried and true and work in concert with social media tools.

2. Engage Your Donors As Partners:  Don't treat your donors like ATM machines.  Ask them for feedback about your program or the charity.  Get them involved in other ways then just writing a check.

3.  Tell Your Story:   Storytelling makes the your fundraising project come alive and see real and urgent for current and potential supporters. Stories put a human face on abstract ideas. And they’re fun to hear and share with other people.   What is most important is telling your personal story about why you care about the cause.

4. Have Credibility.   Don’t just appear and ask for money.  People need to trust you or be able to see that others trust you.  You need to have a presence and be engaging people long before you launch your campaign.       

5. Simple Compelling Asks. Successful online fundraising efforts are built around very easy to understand asks.  Successful social networking fundraising pitches can be boiled down to this formula – “Your Donation Will Help Us Get To This Result.”  Hone and practice your social fundraising elevator pitch - can you boil it down to a compelling tweet?

6.  Build In Urgency.  Intensive fundraising efforts need to have clear, short deadlines. It is better to set a short time with a low dollar expectation than to make the effort too long and too high. 

7. Raise small amounts from many people.  To date donations via social networks has had low average gift amounts, in part, because these donations are made by younger people who have not reached their peak earning years.  Giving asks of $5 or $10 are quite common.  Some creative asks translate that amount into the cost of what someone might be giving up .. a latte or two, a pizza, or other small item.

8. Donor Recognition:   This is part of saying thank you and helps build a loyal donor communication around your do good project.  It is particularly important to in the early phases of an effort to show that real people are contributing.  Organizations that are strategic in highlighting donors who are also key influencers will see better results.

9. Real Time Reporting. Social networks allow for the creation of cyber versions of the United Way giving thermometers posted in the town square. The difference is that the online thermometers can be updated instantly and constantly.  America’s Giving Challenge used a leader board that let organizations know which causes were in the lead based on the number of friends and funds it had raised on a particular day and overall.

10. Saying Thank You In Meaningful Ways.  Donor thank yous are the life blood of fundraising, no matter how small the gift.   Sending a thank you post card in the snail mail has real impact.

What your best fundraising tips?

Beth Kanter, Blogher Nonprofit CE, writes Beth's Blog.

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