Social media can be a powerful tool to build relationships with supporters and donors - here’s a list of tips to get started.
Social media giant Facebook has just announced that charities have now raised a total of £1.6bn through the platform, with £803m raised through Facebook birthday fundraising. And according the 2019 CAF giving report, one in seven people who donate using a website or app do so through social media, such as Facebook’s ‘donate’ button. There isn’t always a strong connection between charities’ social media efforts and their fundraising, but the stats we just cited show that social media can be a powerful tool for those that get it right. Whether or not supporters give directly through a charity’s social media channels, these platforms represent a cheap or even free opportunity for charities to build valuable relationships, raise awareness, get people involved in their cause and build an engaged community of fans. So how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of social media for your charity’s fundraising campaign?
As with any fundraising campaign, it’s important to make a clear plan and timeline with your team so you can keep all the moving parts organised. Here are some steps to think about:
Before launching your fundraising campaign, it’s important to assess which platforms will be best for your target audience. It’s no good designing a strategy based around Instagram, for instance, when it turns out your most engaged audience is not there. Use analytics tools on each platform to decide where to focus your efforts, and research into the audience types for each. Facebook may have a billion users, but you will be competing with many other charities and brands, so it’s a good idea to think beyond the biggest platforms if you want to find the people who are truly relevant to your cause. You may want to explore niche social media platforms with more targeted audiences based around specific interest groups.
Sometimes, especially as a smaller organisation, it can be difficult to get the word out about your fundraising campaign. This is where social media influencers can help. Social media influencers are people with a large following on social media who can use their influence to get more people engaged with your cause. Identify the people who are most active in the community or industry that you’re trying to target, and get in contact. For example, baby charity Tommy’s reached out to parents in Facebook groups who were active in conversations about baby swimming lessons, as part of their Splashathon campaign. It helped to facilitate conversations in an organic way and spread the word.
Before you can launch your campaign, you’ll need to get set up with fundraising tools. Luckily, there are lots of low-cost or free options available that charities can use to launch their campaigns. To help you get started, Charity Digital Exchange offers tools such as Charity Checkout - a tool which helps charities empower their supporters to set up their own fundraising pages on your website. Even social media channels offer tools for fundraising. For example, Facebook’s Charitable Giving Tools are designed to make it easier to fundraise online. Instagram has recently added features like donation stickers and 24-hour fundraising campaigns for people to donate directly through the platform.
While it’s important to be consistent, social media strategies must not involve a ’cut and paste’ of content from one platform to another. Different platforms demand different tones and approaches, and have different audiences. Here are some tips on adapting your content, and even more here.
The power of social media lies in its potential for storytelling, and this is where you can make your fundraising campaign stand out. Use photos and videos to show your nonprofit in action so your audience can see how their donations can help your organization pursue its mission. Videos are particularly powerful for projecting your message (Facebook videos receive 135% more organic reach than Facebook photos). If your audience can connect with your story and mission, they will be more inclined to donate - take a look at this great article from The Drum on the power of storytelling for charities, and our tips on making great videos on a shoestring.
Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way! When you’re making your campaign plan, set some fundraising and campaign benchmarks and post on your social media channels each time you meet one - make sure they are tied to the difference you’re making. You should also engage with your donors on social media and thank them for their donations; it can be as simple as retweeting their tweet or leaving a comment on their Facebook post. Recent campaigns like the #YouMadeItHappen hashtag have shown the power of simply saying thank you.
This article is an updated and revised version of the one found on our partner, Tech Soup US’s site - read the original here.