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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Best Way to Use Social Media in Fundraising



The Best Way to Use Social Media in Fundraising

By ALICE FERRIS, CFRE, ACFRE 


Social media is not the best tool to solicit a gift. There. I said it. So what’s all the fuss about? Social media is a very good tool for cultivation and stewardship. It has been said that social networking has created the largest cocktail party in the world and you can interact with any number of people without an invitation!
Here are some quick tips on what to do with your online presence:
  • Plan your content. You don’t want all your messages to be about selling something or about you—the majority of your posts should be information that establishes you as an expert in your sector. Your posts should also, on a regular basis, include references from other content sources so you don’t sound like you just talk about yourself.
  • Be consistent. Post something every day. There are many free apps available to streamline and schedule your posts, so you don’t have to be tied to the computer every day. If you’re not in someone’s stream on a regular basis, they will forget that you are there.
  • Establish your voice. Show some personality so that people want to be connected to you! Remember, you’re cultivating a relationship—try to make your organization likeable online.
  • Use positive reinforcement. If someone in your online network shares your information or advocates for you in some way, thank them for it. You don’t have to do this for every post, but periodically call attention to the fact that you’re paying attention. Also, regularly interact with people online. They need to know that you’re interested in them too.
  • Use calls to action sparingly. If you have a well-established relationship with your online connections, you can mobilize them, but if you’re asking all the time, they will tune you out. Calls to action should be time sensitive—deadlines that aren’t too far away will be most effective.
Most organizations cannot afford to ignore social media, but understand that no one will “get rich quick” using these tools. Position online networking tools to augment your existing marketing, cultivation and stewardship programs.
Alice Ferris is the founding partner of GoalBusters, providing philanthropic leadership services such as outsourced development operations for small shops; strategic, development and marketing planning; board development and staff training. Join her session at Congress 2012 and follow her on twitter @aliceferris

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