Social media is a great opportunity for your participants to spread awareness, recruit more participants and of course fundraise, ASSUMING they have the right tools and know where to find them. Make this easy for your participants by creating a social media section on your website to serve as the hub for all social media activities.
To reach optimal results you need to provide the who, what, where, when and why in an easy to find location for your participants to access this information during their online experience. Be sure to make the webpage user friendly and clearly identify the actions steps needed for each opportunity. It is critical that you clearly define which social media channels participants join your online communities compared to the resources available for them to use in their social networks. Today we are going to focus on just resources you want participants to share.
Recommend who participants should reach out to by providing a list of the most common social media platforms; Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. Include icons and links. It is important to highlight that while the participant may favor one social media platform, their potential donors may be prefer a different platform and it is a best practice to share their messages across all platforms.
Provide both images and messaging for participants to share to each of their social networks. Customize the messaging for the different types of participants who might be using these images. For example, If your are going to provide a selection facebook timeline images, try to include a message like "Walk with me!" that would appeal to Team Captains along with a "Volunteer with me!" message aimed at your Volunteers.
Host all of this information on one page on your website so anyone visiting your page can access it but then link to this page inside the Participant Center. Identify the page as Social Media Resources and link in both your left navigation and home page. Refer to this section in all of your communications and drive participants to this hub for all social media activities.
TODAY! Ideally, These resources should be set-up and ready to go when you launch your campaign, but it is never too late to add them.
Peer to peer fundraising is only successful when participants are empowered to reach out to their personal networks to solicit donations. Each day, more and more of the population is using social media as the primary means of communication to their friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. If you are not providing social-friendly tools to your fundraisers or burying those tools in hard to find places on your website, then you are leaving precious fundraising dollars on the table for your organization's mission.
Once you've figured out the 5 W's, you should be well on your way to creating an impactful, easy-to-use social media hub for your participants to promote your event and thier fundraising activities.
Interested in Learning More?
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Today's post was prepared by Nancy Palo, a Senior Consultant in Blackbaud's Strategic Services team with an specialty in TeamRaiser and peer-to-peer fundraising. She brings more than 10 years experience in the event fundraising space and is looking forward to helping nonprofits implement solutions to increase their special event fundraising & recruitment.
Prior to joining Blackbaud in April 2012, Nancy worked at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in California and New York where see oversaw the Society’s largest single day Walk MS and Bike MS events, raising more than $30 million during her 8 years with the organization. She studied Communications and Business at the University of San Diego and works remotely from her home office in New York City.
A presidential election year gives us an interesting opportunity to analyze and understand how some of the biggest constituent engagement operations are spending their dollars to communicate to their constituents. Today we are going to look at some of the trends in the campaigns this year, and more specifically on the Obama for America campaign.
Multi-Channel Strategy and Channel Changes
Obama for America, known for their cutting-edge digital strategy and understanding of constituent behavior, spent $3 million on digital ads in February alone. When combined, the Obama campaign and the DNC has spent over $10 million on digital since the launch of the campaign. During the month of February, OFA spent about the same amount, $3 million in February, on postage and printing, indicating that they are using multiple channels to reach multiple audiences.
Obama for America is using some of the same strategies that won Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago his election. Using social media, and an aggressive digital strategy, Rahm was able to drive voters to the polls and educate them on campaign news and events. Facebook has published a case study.
Data Warehouse and Analytics
The ‘Big Data Movement’ has overtaken politics as well. The Obama campaign has invested significant resources in building a sophisticated centralized digital database of information about potential voters. Data is collected from vendors, web analytics firms, and field offices and fed into a digital data warehouse. Once there, the data is available for complex analysis, allowing the campaign to better target their constituents and focus their messaging on where, when, and to whom it will make the most impact.
They are using this environment to merge information captured online (like email interaction history, website visits, web ad interaction, ecommerce, social media information, mobile information) with traditional offline data (including voter files, 3rd party appended data, demographic data, information from data brokers) to give the campaign the necessary information to target messaging, channel, and frequency to key constituencies, both from the Democratic base and independent, or swing, voters.
What really got my attention, was that during February, the same campaign that spent over $6 million on digital and direct mail, spent only a few hundred thousand dollars on TV advertising, typically a lofty line item for political campaigns, especially national campaigns. How drastically technology has changed the way we communicate and others communicate with us! Campaigns formerly were able to count on the timing and reach of television communications, but with the introduction of TiVo and other recording devices, and Hulu and other streaming websites, the control over messaging is continuously slipping away.
As with any marketing organization, control of the message and measurement of impact is critically important. As more control and measurement is available in digital channels, it is clear why this has drastically overtaken traditional media in a short three election cycles.
What does this mean?
As we’ve seen dramatically over the last three presidential elections (from Dean to Obama), contstituent engagement strategies change about as quickly as I change my socks (thus, the below list might be outdated by the time you finish reading this!)
I know, I know. You’re not sure what to put in that big open space at the top of the new Facebook layout.
Well, I’ve come to the rescue. I’ve pulled together three ideas from Convio clients who are rocking and rolling with the new format.
Before I jump in, here’s a quick overview of what the story is with the new format if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Facebook Fan Pages (the format used for non-profit organizations) feature a fancy timeline feature and a wide open space at the top for an image… or a call to action… or a screen shot… or something else! The format became mandatory for all fan pages on March 31. Beth Kanter provided some great information about the change on her blog.
So, this new format presents you with a great opportunity to make your organization’s Facebook page more engaging and visually appealing. Here is what other folks are doing… get inspired!
Oxfam America is using an image from a video they just released as the banner on their Facebook page. How much do you love these animals dining on a fancy dinner? You’re prompted to scroll to their wall to learn more about the video as soon as you see the banner image!
I love the way the image that the San Diego Zoo is using on their banner is seamlessly blended with their profile icon image. Cute, right?
Is it me, or are infographics more hip than significant glasses or unnecessary scarves? The National Partnership for Women and Families has created this handy infographic to kick off their festivities for Equal Pay Day.
Bonus fourth item…
The Sierra Club is using their banner graphic to provide a menu of engagement opportunities atop their Facebook page. Don’t you just want to sign up and have as much fun as that girl with the hard hat? Me too.
Fundraising is hard work. From the annual fund to major gift solicitation, there is heavy lifting to do at every step of the process and any help you can get – especially in volunteer form – ultimately makes your efforts more fruitful. The good news – at least for the more technologically savvy organizations – is creating vocal volunteers to advance your communication goals is easier than ever, thanks to the free tools available online. The following examples illustrate some best practices in online communication and how integrating those practices into your operations can lead to the development of online ambassadors who will help spread your message on the Internet and beyond.
Awareness and Providing Value Lead to Online Ambassadors
For every cause, there is an audience of enthusiastic supporters online, waiting to lend a hand in sharing that cause’s message. This is your group of potential online ambassadors. All that they need to move from potential to actual is 1) they need to know your organization exists and 2) they need content about your organization to share with the world and let everyone know how great your organization is. A smart online strategy is the way to deliver both.
To point #1: attractive websites, strategically managed and consistently monitored social media networks, and emails worth reading help get you noticed by those online ambassadors in waiting. And few organizations play this awareness game better than the Humane Society of the United States. For several years now, the HSUS has been implementing and managing a comprehensive online strategy that includes a main Facebook page with more than 1 million followers, plus several other pages that fit niche demographics such as their Farm Animal Protection campaign. The HSUS takes the same approach with Twitter, where they nurture relationships with supporters, and YouTube, where they provide quality content about their mission and activity.
Which leads me to point #2 – online super users are always looking for content to share with their followers. So make life easy on them by providing a study stream of content about your org that they can easily share. Check out what The University of Minnesota has done with its YouTube channel. If you’re an alumnus or general supporter, no matter what it is you like about the U of MN, you can probably find it on their YouTube channel and share it with your friends. This approach of appealing to multiple audiences with a wide array of content has translated into nearly 6 million views of videos on The University of Minnesota’s channel, including one video – The Science of Watchmen – that has won an Emmy.
Finally, once you have the attention of your new online ambassadors, cultivate their sense of connectivity to your organization by keeping them apprised of how their support is making the world a better place. One of my favorite examples of this new online form of stewardship comes from A Child’s Right and their blog “Proving It.” With a focus on providing clean water to children around the world, A Child’s Right goes to great lengths keeping their donors and supporters informed about each project they take on. The good, the bad, and the ugly – nothing is concealed. It’s transparency at its finest and it helps donors – most of whom are thousands of miles away from the people impacted – feel more connected to the cause.
Now that you’ve created an army of online ambassadors, how should you put them to work?
Florida State University’s Great Give – While it might not be the most sexy of online tools, email might still be the most powerful. (And the rise of mobile could lead to an even more prominent role for email.) The Florida State University’s annual giving team discovered this during their 36-hour, online-only campaign in January 2012. The FSU annual giving team easily surpassed their goal raising $186,000, entirely online, in just a day and a half. What might have been even more impressive, was of the 1,100 who gave, 380 were first time donors to FSU.
So where did all these donors come from? Annual giving team members were busy throughout the campaign using social media to promote the event. But they didn’t just send messages out themselves, from FSU accounts. Instead, they connected with their biggest Internet cheerleaders –their online ambassadors – and sent them pre-packaged tweets and Facebook updates.
All the supporters had to do was copy and paste the message into their social networks and hit send. In an instant, dozens of supporters were sharing messages hand-picked by the annual giving team with all their friends and followers in a manner that looked and felt organic to everyone involved. Just one of the many ways email can be used to boost giving, especially in the online realm, when you have an army of online ambassadors ready to lead the fundraising charge.
Justin Ware is the director of social media at Bentz Whaley Flessner where he helps clients develop online strategies for engaging donors and increasing fundraising. Read Justin's complete bio.
People engaging in social media are interested in being social, which means they want to establish relationships with the organizations & individuals that they follow. Effective social media campaigns help foster these relationships by engaging followers in two-way communication.
Many organizations mistakenly limit their social media activity to broadcasting information about their events or their organization, thereby cutting the “social” out of “social media.” This critical mistake limits the overall effectiveness of your social media campaigns by removing the opportunities for your followers to build a relationship with your organization. You should think of social media functioning more like a telephone and less like a megaphone.
When social media is done right it builds trust and affinity towards your organization. Your followers will become more invested in your mission, which will lead them to have a sense of ownership over the success of your organization and its fundraising events.
5 Tips to Keep the “Social” in “Social Media”
In the upcoming months, we'll be talking more about how to develop and manage effective social media campaigns in support of your event fundraising. What topics would you be interested in learning more about? Are there areas where your fundraising events are struggling to find thier social footing? Leave me a comment below. I'd love to learn more about your needs!
Learn more about how your fundraising event can use social media by downloading our Quick Start Guide for Socially Savvy P2P Events.
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