Social media fundraising campaigns: When it’s time to change

Your nonprofit has to evaluate all possible social channels.
Date Published
09/29/2015

Modern fundraising campaigns rely on digital news media to spread marketing content. Social pages like Facebook and Twitter are no longer a trivial form of entertainment; they are valuable assets in your organization’s communication toolbox.

When strategies become standard practice, some people have a bad habit of taking them for granted. Digital campaigns, however, base their activities around constantly evolving technology. New social features change online performance and how audiences react to nonprofit materials.

If your nonprofit uses social media for fundraising campaigns you need to examine how you utilize the tools, explore new features and brush up on the latest advances.

Reevaluation of social media usage
The majority of nonprofits use a social media site in some way, shape or form – 97 percent in 2014 – but many organization do not treat the channel as a priority, according to the Case Foundation. The Nonprofit Quarterly shared the results of a report conducted by the Case Foundation and Social Media for Nonprofits that found 88 percent of organizations said email and websites were their most important communication tools.

Seventy-four percent of nonprofits primarily use social media as a promotion resource. Nonprofits utilize Twitter and Facebook to discuss events and organization news, but only half of the report respondents said they shared issue-centric content. This is problematic because a Pew Center study reported many consumers turn to sites like Facebook for important news. A social media page only appears trivial when an organization treats it that way.

The Beth Kanter blog suggested newsjacking; posting mission relevant content around major events. It’s a great strategy for showing donors your organization contributes to important change. If you decide to start posting mission-driven material on Facebook, you must track its progress. Anytime an organization begins a new online campaign it should monitor audience interactions in a nonprofit software system. Data lets you compare reevaluation to previous practices.

New features help fundraiser events
Social media changes all the time. Platforms may adapt their sharing capabilities, posting restrictions or update schedules. When sites introduce new features, organizations have to be aware. The latest tool might be exactly what you need to drive interest in your upcoming fundraiser.

The Nonprofit Quarterly shared the example of how the Central Park Conservancy used a new Twitter app to take online audiences on a nature tour. The park uses Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram to promote its Wednesday Wander walks. Recently, it outfitted tour guides with Twitter Periscope. The app allows Twitter users to view livestream video connected with tweet links. The nonprofit gives distant viewers a close-up look at the beauty of their normal activities.

Keeping up with social media features is a great project for volunteers. Most of the younger people who devote their time to your organization have their thumb on the pulse of technology and can show staff members how to use new tools.

Look beyond the typical
Most organizations are on Facebook and Twitter, but some nonprofits were slow to adapt them into normal routines. Your nonprofit doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice. It’s a good idea to be on the lookout for the next big social media platform and how it can help fundraising.

Snapchat is a social platform that allows users to send quick photos and short videos to their contacts. Social Media Today said nonprofit organizations should use Snapchat to create engaging narratives. Volunteers can take a series of photos over the course of a project or fundraiser. Snapchat’s temporary nature promotes users to constantly check for updates.

Forbes listed some other social platforms that could become very popular by the end of 2015 including Ello, Hyper, Slideshare and Shots. Nonprofit organizations should show particular interest in Slideshare because the site lets users post detailed narratives using both text and graphics. You can deliver presentations that proved effective at live events to online audiences.

Keep up with changes
Facebook may add a dislike button, but it probably won’t. CBS News explained how a recent Facebook live event teased features beyond the like button. The media was quick to predict that users will get the chance to show disapproval of certain status and pictures. This kind of feature could prevent organizations from sharing materials, but there is nothing definite yet.

When employing a tool as fluid as social media, you have to keep your ear to the ground for changes. You should check the news and your online audience interactions for fluctuations. Quick responses to changes prevent wasted resources on channels that are no longer dependable.

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