The Rise of Social Media Fundraising

A few weeks ago, we discussed social media as a key method for receiving donations. The recent results of Nonprofit Research Collaborative’s Winter 2015 Report seem to agree with us.

The report summarizes the data collected from a nonprofit survey in January and February of 2015. One of their biggest findings has to do with the current use and expected increase in value of social media as a channel for online and mobile donations.

According to the research report:

  • 46% of the organizations surveyed used social media to receive gifts
  • Out of this group, gifts received through social media increased by 79%–the highest increase of all fundraising methods recorded in the survey!

Social media was found to be one of the least used fundraising methods, even though it had the highest percentage of responding organizations indicating growth: 79%.

Other important findings from the report include:

  • A change in the direction of donation methods used:  In addition to social media, organizations reported the greatest increase in growth in email requests, “other online” giving (“Give Now” express donation buttons on websites), and SMS/text.
  • There was a 71% increased growth in SMS/text donations (think Text-to-Give).

Many organizations undoubtedly have begun to use social media to supplement more traditional fundraising methods, and to broaden their communication channels for younger generations. But as we previously discussed, most organizations are NOT using it at it’s full potential. Social media is not simply a way to communicate–it is a direct and innovative way to fundraise.

The 2015 Projections of the report–straight from the nonprofits themselves–indicate that social media fundraising is the factor that will most affect organizations’ fundraising success for 2015. Not only does it serve as a way to expand communication, and reach and introduce your organization’s cause to new donors, but as the Urban Outreach Denver case study shows, once you have reached new donors with your message, you can also capitalize right then and there by effectively structuring your social media ask.

How can you incorporate social giving?

It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it shouldn’t take any more time than what you already invest in scheduling social media posts. The key is to work smarter, not harder. A few small tweaks can go a long way.

  • Start by determining and composing your message: Chances are, you already know the message you wish to express to your followers, and are already incorporating it in your use of social media. If not, ask yourself: Who are our donors? What posts have been the most engaging (there is trial and error involved)–ones including videos? Images? Stories? Use these principles to guide you.
  • Include a Call to Action: Once you have your message, an occasional post directly asking for donations isn’t going to scare donors off. Quite the opposite actually. If you’ve shared information or a video about your latest fundraising efforts, chances are your supporters may be inspired to give. So provide them a means of doing so directly from social media! If you’re unsure how to structure your message, read how here.
  • Offer a quick and easy way to give: Your cause is strong, and your social media posts connect with your followers. Now comes the important part…the critical point that decides whether or not your organization will be a part of the 79% that saw an increase in donations received through social media. How convenient is it to actually follow through and give through social media? If you nail this part, your donors can partake in online AND mobile giving; WHEREVER they have access to social media. The way you accomplish this, is by providing a link to the “Give Now” express donation buttons or a Text-to-Give number as mentioned from the study above. Do this, and you reduce friction from the process, making giving just about as easy as it is for a donor to look through their Facebook or Twitter feed on their phone. It won’t take but a few extra seconds out of their day, which means they are MUCH more likely to donate. And once they experience how easy  it is once, they are also likely to become repeat donors.

That doesn’t sound too hard, right? And the increase in fundraising–even through a relatively small, supplemental channel–can be astounding. So start today, and join the 2015 social giving trend.


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