Can we just take a moment to be truly honest with each other, dear readers?
It’s weird when incredibly smart, fresh, relevant social media advice comes from the mouth of a 50-something, right?
Hell, most of the time I feel completely out of touch in this category myself… especially, as it turns out, when I’m getting schooled by a grey hair.
I’m jumping ahead.
I was lucky enough to attend two of the sessions focused on how to use social media to connect with new donors. And, I have to say – if you’re looking for a speaker who (1) totally gets social media, (2) has been there/done that credibility and (3) can deliver advice that is relevant, clear and actionable … well, this is the guy to call. I’m already integrating some of the things I learned.
Let me share a few highlights:
Set aside the scarcity mindset
- We need to move from the mindset of scarcity to one of abundance
- There are millions of potential donors out there; you just have to find a way to connect with them
- Online fundraising allows us to aggregate the resources of those scattered givers
- Your donors are older today, but it’s more a symptom of your fundraising efforts than it is a reflection of your true constituents
- 80% of Americans give to nonprofits every year (DMA 08)
Cause vs. Candidate
- Why has Obama been able to inspire so many first-time givers? The first thing he asks for isn’t money; it’s a commitment. He doesn’t ask for money until three or four communications in. First he makes you a stakeholder in his campaign – gives you a movement / an event / a task to be a part of
- One effective social tactic: Sign a pledge. People who get a chance to make a statement quickly become donors
- 47% of people who give online did something else first
- People don’t emotionally connect to institutions; they connect with causes they can believe in
- Ex. Give to the Library annual pledge vs. Thank a Librarian campaign
- Ex. Nothing but Nets – the UN Foundations campaign to fight malaria
- The Internet rewards storytelling. It’s hard to tell a truly compelling “unrestricted gift” story
What's the strategy? There are no checkbooks on Facebook
- Fundraising is one step removed from a social media introduction
- Fundraising on the Web is more like “major gift” strategy than anything else. It’s about cultivation. Finding the right time and the right amount for a first gift
- Engage the person first; ask for money later
- Virtual volunteer recruitment is essential. Share your brand with your biggest advocates – let them take your message and “the ask” to their friends
- Add a function to your Web site that allows people to quickly qualify themselves (get them to register in exchange for something of value – ex. Field guide, “pet inside” fire sticker)
- The messenger is critical. You want that person / organization to create confidence. To endorse your organization’s brand.
- Focus on what the donor wants, not what the organization wants. For example, most online giving tools allow for anonymous giving, but organizations turn that off because they want to be able to track down the donor. If you allow it? Total donations increase 15 – 20%
The Web’s not just for small gifts
- 51% of the “wired wealthy” (middle and major donors) prefer to give online
- 80% already have (download Convio study)
- Why they like it: reduces administrative costs, has a sense of immediacy / ability to respond effectively to a crisis, gets them frequent flyer miles (yep, it’s a big number), makes it easier to track total donations over time
- Why they don’t like it: Worried that you’ll sell their personal information or deluge them with email
What are the tools?
- Ask yourself: If an opportunity presented itself today, are you ready to quickly communicate with all of your constituents? Do you have their email addresses, cell phone numbers, etc.?
- “Email is an old person’s medium. You have to be able to think beyond it.” But also use it strategically to reach boomers – it’s the bread & butter of their giving.
- The new free media is blogs. It’s “Information unfiltered by authority”
- 74% of people who give said an email about how a donation was spent would improve the chance that they give again (DMA 08)
- 3/4s said the Web site experience has a significant impact on it / how much they give
Budget for preparedness
- The challenge with disruptive technology is that there’s no proven ROI, no history
- It’s tough to fit that into the nonprofit planning model
- Need to set aside a certain percentage of the budget to prepare for what’s next – to experiment with how to connect with your new donors
- “Increasingly, the gap between have and have not organizations will be defined by how they have / have not embraced technology”
Why add mobile to your strategy?
- “Phones allow us to begin to compete with consumer spending instead of other charitable giving”
- Americans acknowledge that much of their spending is somewhat frivolous. It’s also spontaneous. So, today, it’s a sweater, but tomorrow it could just as easily be a contribution
- Today, mobile giving is challenged by total giving limits and administrative charges from providers. But, soon people will connect their Paypal accounts to their phones and giving will be much less restrictive
- Mobile partners: Mobile Accord, MobileCommons
Big takeaway: “You don’t teach your donors; your donors teach you” Donors are changing the rules of the game. It's up to us to learn it.