Tips to Get Started Using Social Media to Fundraise

Last year, Nonprofit Tech for Good reported some of the following statistics:

* Fifty-five percent of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action.

* The average nonprofit crowdfunding campaign raises $9,237.55.

* Online giving grew 13.5 percent in 2013.

Social media is here to stay and nonprofits need to become more aggressive in incorporating its use into their overall outreach strategy for courting their current and prospective donors. The vast majority of organizations say that their websites and email is the most important communication tool that they use. Fully, 97 percent of nonprofits are using Facebook.

Nonprofits exist not only to fulfill their respective missions, but in order to accomplish their work, they are also looking to promote their organizations and obtain financial support, in effect fundraising dollars. As noted in a Nonprofit Quarterly article 74 percent of organizations use social media to announce events and activities, and only 53 percent, “follow the best practice of posting issue-centric content to establish thought leadership… ”

That point is one that should not be taken lightly. The reality is that nonprofits should not be in the business of simply using social media to promote their activities. The most successful organizations (for-profit and nonprofit) are the ones who consistently become thought leaders in their respective fields. Individuals and the media want to know that your organization is an expert in the field and this is not acquired by simply publicizing your own events.

In order to be effective at using social media, you need to regularly communicate with your followers. This means with tools such as Facebook, it should be approximately 5 to 10 times per week. Since Twitter is a micro-blog, nonprofits can certainly tweet more often than Facebook. One of the key best practices to keep in mind for this particular platform is to build up your followers. To accomplish this, your organization can look into Tweelow, @NonprofitOrgs and WeFollow. And, on Twitter or other similar platforms, in order to have a good conversation, remember to follow back those who follow you.

Most nonprofits are very good at being able to communicate what they do, but many forget that there should be a regular call to action in your conversation. There are several means to accomplish this:

* Ask a question and target your message to influencers on varying social media platforms.

* Tell followers what you need via a wish list or if you have implemented a campaign, let people know how to get involved and why.

* Ask people to share or retweet (RT).

* If publicizing an event, promote early-bird tickets.

A great practice to promote your cause that people will remember is to post great photography and images on the social media platforms you are using. People may notice a picture more than text. Infographics are also another approach to get your message across in a simple to digest and visually memorable fashion.

Finally, get messy. Some nonprofits don’t use social media because they are afraid of doing something “wrong”. There are no hard and fast rules. The reality is that the more your organization uses social media, the more you will see what the best practices are around that specific platform. Start out using one or two tools and as you gain more confidence and success, add other social media.

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