Think about all the people you are friends with on Facebook. Maybe you have 50 friends. Or 100. Or even 1,000. Now think about how many of those people you would not be connected with were it not for social media. Former co-workers, old friends from middle school, a distant cousin. People you don’t call or email on a regular basis, but it’s cool to see their posts or pictures. Social media gives us an easy, non-invasive way to connect with people who at one point or another were threads in the tapestry of our lives.
This is the reason the Web has such valuable potential as a fundraising tool. Every person on social media has a circle of friends. These circles are generally much bigger than the circles of people we physically interact with on a daily basis, call on the phone on a monthly basis, or even email on a yearly basis. Online friends run the gamut from immediate family members to that kid you met at summer camp 25 years ago. Social media has infinitely extended the reach of every individual. That’s why social fundraising should be a key aspect of every nonprofit organization’s fundraising strategy moving into the future.
Still not convinced? Here are four more compelling reasons your nonprofit organization should promote social fundraising to the top of your fundraising strategy.
1. Online giving is growing and being adopted as preferred practice
The Nonprofit Times recently posted an article titled “Overall Giving Declines, Online Up Slightly”. The headline alone tells the story. The article reported “Charitable giving in the United States decreased 3.4 percent for the three months ending August 2012, as compared to the same period in 2011.” It then went on to note, “online giving increased 2.4% for the three months ending August 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011” and “excluding International Relief organizations, online giving was up 7% for the three months ending August 2012”. The bottom line here, more people across age groups are online than ever before. And more people are giving online than ever before. And those numbers will only continue to go up.
2. Millennials (the future of fundraising) are more comfortable in the online space
The 2012 Millennial Impact Report provided results from an extensive study about how Millennials interact with nonprofit organizations. We covered a lot of useful stats from this report in our blog post “9 Key Takeways for Nonprofits from the 2012 Millennial Impact Report”, but we’ll share a few more here: “55% percent of Millennials says they prefer to learn about nonprofit through social media” (second only to “website” with 65%); “70% of Millennials said the made a donation online to a nonprofit in 2011”; and “81% of Millennials prefer to learn about volunteer opportunities from their peers”. Millennials may not give a lot, but there is power in numbers. And Millennial donations can certainly add up (especially with the high peer influence of this group), and their contributions will only continue to increase year over year.
3. Your ability to reach people online through social fundraising does not have a ceiling
You may have found at some point that your marketing efforts through the mail and other channels hit a ceiling. You just can’t seem to go any higher. The beauty of the online space – especially social media – is that it’s growing and it just keeps growing. According to a just-posted Mashable article, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerbeg announced the passage of a new milestone on October 4: “This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month.” According to a recent TechCrunch article, Twitter “has now passed the half-billion account mark — specifically 517 million accounts as of July 1, 2012, with 141.8 million of those users in the U.S.” Every time you connect with an individual, you are also tapping into their social network. That means another circle of friends, family and neighbors you can potentially reach with your message. And anytime one of those friends, family or neighbors gives or volunteers, you can then tap into their circle.
4. You get people more involved and strengthen their connection to your organization
Social media hasn’t just changed the way people communicate, it’s changed the way they involve themselves with causes and organizations. With social media, everyone has a place to make their voice heard. People want to stand for causes they support and promote organizations to their friends. They want to be actively involved and show people what they are involved in. A March Mashable article titled “KONY 2012: How Social Media Fueled the Most Viral Video of All Time” shows the power of social sharing. The article points to a Pew Internet and American Life Project investigation that found “18 to 29-year-olds sharing links on Twitter and Facebook” propelled the “KONY 2012” video (a 30-minute documentary seeking to arrest LRA leader Joseph Kony) to nearly 100 million YouTube views. Thanks to social media, people have the power to share – and they’re waiting for you to compel them to take action.
The sky is the limit with social fundraising
You know where the people are crowding – they’re online and they’re on social media sites. The key is developing a strategy to get individuals to promote your nonprofit and cause in their social circles. When you do that, you open the door to all those former co-workers, middle-school friends and long-lost cousins in their networks. The sky is the limit to what your fundraising can achieve from there. Make social fundraising a top priority moving forward to increase your volunteers, donors and brand recognition.
Ready to advance your nonprofit organization’s social fundraising efforts? Find out how eleventy’s ONCORE online interaction system makes it fast, fun and easy for your supporters to participate in social fundraising campaigns.