How social media can make nonprofit fundraising efforts easier

Nonprofits must embrace social media as a way to drive increased donations.
Date Published
09/10/2014

In order to be effective in their nonprofit fundraising activities, many 501(c)(3) groups have to get creative. There was a time when a carefully crafted television commercial with powerful visuals and a strong message was enough to convince people to give financially in support of a specific cause. Another sound strategy was using a direct mail campaign containing images that made a connection with potential donors emotionally, convincing them to give as well.

However, the proliferation of technology has forced many organizations to change the way they operate and nonprofits are no different. In fact, the organizations that have not adopted tools such as the Internet and social networks have unfortunately placed themselves far behind the groups that understand the use of these platforms can help drive increased contributions.

Social media can help bolster nonprofit fundraising efforts
Social networks like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have become popular with people of varying ages all over the world. Every day there are literally millions of conversations taking place on these channels and forward-thinking charitable organizations understand that this is where a number of both existing and potential donors spend a great deal of their time.

A recent article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy profiled Clarence Wardell, the founder of tinyGive. This is a social media giving tool designed exclusively for Twitter that allows donations to be made using the micro-blogging site. Users can donate a minimum of $1 to a specific cause or charity. After a donation is made, the system will automatically send a tweet containing the Twitter handle of the organization receiving the contribution, the dollar amount and the “#tinyGive” hashtag so that the contributor’s followers will be able to see it.

This is beneficial for a number of reasons, however, the most important of which may have been outlined in a recent infographic from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

According to PwC, 90 percent of people who are active on social media trust recommendations made by others in their social networking circles. Additionally, 71 percent of consumers are likely to buy a product or service based on a referral made by someone on social media. This same concept can be applied to nonprofit fundraising as well.

Currently, there are as many as 150 organizations that have adopted tinyGive and added it to their nonprofit fundraising portfolios.

“What we want to do is make it accessible to an organization with maybe just an executive director,” Wardell explained to The Chronicle about how tinyGive came into existence. “The donation itself you can make it through Twitter. And you have advertised it to other people in your network. That is all-in-one action. Text-based giving happens in a silo. You may or may not go and post about it. We are trying to re-emphasize this idea that your social capital matters.”

This platform is just one of the many ways that nonprofits and other charities are using to capitalize on the growing popularity of social media and the Internet to leverage its power to raise additional funds.

The value of understanding contributors
In order to help drive increased donations, those tasked with running a 501(c)(3) organization must have a clear understanding of their supporters and how to connect with them. This is similar to what Clarence Wardell did in the creation of tinyGive.

Technology has made people a lot more savvy than they were 15 or 20 years ago. In order to keep up with these behavioral shifts, nonprofits must also adopt trends that their supporters are closely attached to. Failure to do so can make supporters feel alienated and they are much more likely to align themselves with organizations that have embraced technology and use it on a daily basis just like they do.

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