This is the second post in a three-part series on non-profits and social media. From storytelling to showing the human side of an organization, there are many benefits to using social media for non-profit organizations. There are also some fundraising advantages to using social media which, as promised, we will discuss in this post.

Social media as it relates to fundraising is an excellent tool for creating social influence and building relationships. Using social media analytics is essential for understanding the outcome of your social media efforts.

Social influence

Social influence has always played a role in motivating others to give. A study by Katherine Carman (Social Influences and the Private Provision of Public Goods, 2004), found that people were four times more likely to donate if a prominent person in their lives did so first. Social influence is a key motivator in encouraging donors to give.

Office campaigns are a good traditional example of using peer pressure to influence donations. Encouraging others to give to be part of the team or putting up a participation graph in the lunchroom can be strong motivational tools for campaign giving.

For decades, non-profit board members and volunteers have been asked to give (to support the cause, of course), but also to be able to influence their peers. It is easier to make a case to others if you have already signed on.

For non-profits, social media provides another forum for social influence. Here are a couple ways to do this:

Make on-line donations shareable

When donors complete an on-line donation encourage them to share with their social network. This feature can easily be built into on-line giving pages. It takes the feel good benefit of giving one step further as they will receive public recognition for their gift, while encouraging others to do the same.

Personal giving pages

Charities should provide individuals with the opportunity to create personal giving pages. These types of pages are most commonly used to raise money for personal participation in an event or In Memory or In Honour of loved ones. Personal pages can also be used to raise money for a charity through a wedding or birthday.

Relationship Building

In addition to using social media to influence others to give, it is also valuable for prospecting and relationship building.

Social media shouldn’t replace in person networking and relationship building, but it is definitely another tool. Engage with social media followers – when they comment, reply, ask questions, and get to know your audience. Social media is also a great way for younger people to learn about and participate in charities. It is an easy entry point with a low time commitment, but can create a strong connection overtime.

As key spokespeople for the organization, it is also important for the CEO or Executive Director to become involved in social media through their own pages. Linked In is an invaluable resource for leaders to build an on-line network.

Use your analytics

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have comprehensive analytics. Use them to understand who your audience is (age, location etc). Track the number of followers and comments, but also pay attention to where posts and comments are leading. Are followers signing up for newsletters or making a donation as a result of a post? If yes, which types of posts led to this conversion and can they be repeated?

Also use analytics to monitor the power of social influence, for example how many people gave as a result of their friend sharing on Facebook?

As we mentioned in the last post, any social media activity requires careful planning designated time.  And, as always, try different things, measure, modify and try again.

In our next and final post in this three-part series we will discuss Social Media – Awareness Campaigns (Opportunities for Partnerships and Collaboration). In the meantime, revisit our previous posts, feel free to comment on this post or contact us directly with questions. We look forward to hearing from you.