Used to be, when it came to giving there were two parties: the donor and the organization.
Now though, with the advent of social fundraising, there are often three parties: the donor, the organization and the unrelated-to-the-organization social fundraising platform. And while we might be tempted to say “two’s company but three’s a crowd,” it doesn’t have to be that way. If your organization embraces social fundraising, it could be the more the merrier.
What is social fundraising?
I like to describe social fundraising as the marriage between peer-to-peer giving and social media.
Many moons ago, we solicited donations from our friends by carrier pigeon, mail, phone or email…the same ways we communicated with them about other things. Today we still use (most) of those methods to communicate but we also increasingly use social media. So it’s really no surprise that our methods of donation solicitation have evolved to include social media too.
The very first thing an organization wanting to use social fundraising should do, is have its own social media presence. You don’t need to be on every platform, but considering your goals and resources, select those you can be successful with. (Read our Social Media Tips & Tricks if you need tips.)
Next, to best harness the enthusiasm of your constituents and power of social fundraising, your organization should be an active participant in choosing the social fundraising tool constituents are encouraged to use. When considering which of the many tools to use, ask yourself these questions:
While these are the first questions your organization should ask, social fundraising, like any campaign, can’t be decided on by reading one 371-word blog post. You need to gather more information about goals, capacity, audience etc.
If you are at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, come to my session tomorrow (10:30a, Market Street room) to learn more and see a case study from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
If you are not at the conference, you can continue learning about social fundraising through our Common Ground Social video.
In part 1 of Mobilize Those Mobile Eyes, I wrote about the different facets of the mobile channel that your organization can use to engage your constituents.
In part 2, I will wrap-up my takeaways from the Nonprofit Mobile Day event I recently attended, presented by the Direct Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Federation(DMANF). Here, I’ll cover who the players are you can to bring to the table, and share a couple of thoughts about creating a plan for mobile.
Know the players
If you decide to go the mobile route, there are a number of capabilities that you will need to have in-house or (more likely) bring partners to the table for.
Know your plan
The question of “where to begin?” was answered in a recent Connection Café post by Katya Andresen, as well as this mobile post from Michael Sabat, but let me add some things I gleaned from the Mobile Day event that might also help inform your thinking on mobile engagement:
Watt Hamlett is Lead Solutions Engineer with Convio. He loves working with nonprofit organizations to help them access the strategies, software, and services they need to achieve their goals.
You’ve probably noticed that many of us at Convio have been thinking and talking a lot about multichannel communication with constituents. Through our multigenerational research and case studies with clients, and other testing, we have pretty definitive proof that individuals expect us to speak to them in a coordinated fashion in each of the channels they prefer. This process can be new and difficult but the payoff is greater engagement, stickier relationships, and increased value. As part of a broader CRM strategy, multichannel campaigns are critical for nonprofit organizations to be thinking about.
This week at the 2012 SXSW Interactive Conference, I noticed another theme that is a facet of multichannel communications: Transmedia Storytelling. I had the luck of choosing two adjacent sessions that focused on transmedia storytelling, which really got me thinking about what this means to organizations and how it fits in with a broader communications strategy. While an official definition may be arguable, I would define transmedia story telling as a technique in telling a story where multiple platforms or channels are necessary to tell the whole story. Conversely, Multichannel communications focuses on coordinating a campaign or appeal across multiple channels. They are similar but I believe the nuanced differences are important.
One session on transmedia that I attended was presented by Adrian Hon of Six to Start about the making of the BBC Documentary called “TheCode.” This program was featured amazing content about how math is embedded in our everyday lives. Hon explained how his team was able to expand the audience beyond the typical 55 year old male who would have been the standard viewer to a much more diverse set of individuals by developing additional content through multiple channels. By developing games, puzzles, supplemental material, documents, and mailings, they increased engagement and reach. The results were impressive, there were 1.8 million viewers of the program (about what they expected), but time shifted views boosted the audience 20-40%. Over one million people engaged with games that helped tell the story and average engagement time online was around 24 minutes!
The other transmedia session told a similar story of what Bravo did with the Top Chef series and contest. They were able to engage viewers, seed content, dynamically change approaches, and increase impressions by telling the story through multiple channels.
While all nonprofits may not have the budget of the BBC and Bravo, these projects were completed on relatively low budgets for these companies and I believe orgs can mimic these storytelling techniques for similar results. To do this we must think about what media fits each part of the story and how to connect the dots. Embedding content producers from each channel in the entire process is key. Transmedia storytelling cannot happen with each person working on their own part – the whole story needs to be integrated from start to finish. It’s also important to think about how the story will be shared once people are engaged. As one panelist said, “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.”
If you have a chance to attend SXSW Interactive, I definitely encourage it. The innovative vibe is invigorating, the nonprofit community is well represented, and the cross pollination of ideas is healthy! I hope you enjoyed this snippet of a take away that I learned this year – I’ll certainly be thinking about transmedia storytelling more this year.
Imagine you're in the queue at the car park pay-on-exit machine. You become aware that a young mum at the front of the queue is talking to the assistant. She has no cash and the machine won't accept credit cards. The assistant's voice over the intercom insists: "No, you can't pay with credit card. You have to pay with cash," "No, there's no cash machine," "No, you'll have to walk all the way back to the shopping centre and find a cash point," "No, there's no other option."
You have cash in your pocket so you pay her ticket rather than see her struggle down six flights of stairs with two children, a pushchair and several bags of shopping. Her gratitude is disconcerting. "How can I pay you back? Why would you do this?".
"I know what it's like to go shopping with children" you say. She grins. You don't need to say any more. A true story.
It's these small opportunities to make a difference to our customers, our supporters, our patients, or to strangers; this is what marks us out as human. And in a world of big organisations, a world of people short on time, it's crucial that we grab every opportunity to show that humanity. Social media is one tool that makes it easy for us to do that.
Did you hear about the international flower company that monitored their twitter feed and sent bunches of flowers to random Twitter users that need cheering up? Or the cracker producer who tracked down fans of their product and took a whole pallet to their door? (Read more about these random acts of kindness.)
So how are you being human with your constituents? Do your thank-you emails really express your gratitude? Do they deepen the relationship? Do you ever send a hand-written note? When people engage with your twitter feed or your Facebook page are they met by someone who wants to make their day better? Someone who wants to show that their organisation is about people - not income? This is what will entice your followers to want to give you their email addresses, to pay more attention to what you're saying, to spread your brand, your mission. That's real ROI on social media.
I suspect that next time that young mum is in a car park with someone in front who's struggling she might just reach into her pocket to see whether she can create a disproportionate difference with a small amount of effort.
Social Media. It's called social for a reason.
It’s that time of the year again folks! Dust off your Tom’s, iPads, and lanyards- SXSW is finally upon us and no one is more excited than we are here at Convio. For those of you who are wondering what this fun acronym is all about, South by Southwest is a 9 day festival that includes 3 portions: music, film, and our favorite, interactive (March 9th-13th).
This year we are diving in with our feet first by co-sponsoring the TechMix Happy Hour on March 9th. We invite you to come out and mingle with the hosting teams, customers and SXSW attendees on a variety of topics. Because, honestly, when else are you going to be in a room with people who want to discuss leveraging the power of Twitter for nonprofits or debate whether or not Google+ is an influential tool, and over drinks to boot? If our happy hour wasn’t enough time to get the creative juices flowing, or other juices were flowing too much, our Social Media Marketing Specialist, Cheryl Black, will be hosting a nonprofit meet up in the Beacon Lounge March 10th from 1:30pm-2:30pm. We encourage people to take advantage of this fantastic networking opportunity, and of course the complimentary snacks.
On top of that we are sponsoring lunch every day (delicious eats for free, yes!) in the Beacon Lounge, where the theme is, “Lounge With A Conscience.” Falling in line with the theme, each day we will be accepting donations during lunch to go to a local nonprofit, and at the end of the day we will match up to $500 dollars. The nonprofits benefiting are:
Nothing gets us more jazzed than to help out great organizations that are located right in our own backyard; because at the end of the day it is about the impact they are making in our community.
The icing on the cake that is our participation in this great festival is definitely our ability and fortune to be a supporting sponsor for the SXSW 2012 Interactive Awards. It’s kind of a big deal to receive it considering last year’s winners included, The Tiziano Project | 360⠁Kurdistan, The Onion, and Conan O’Brien Presents: Team CoCo, just to name a few.
In case this hasn’t revved up your engines for South by Southwest as much as it has for us, here is a sneak peek interview with our own Lori Bainborough, aka Convio’s own event guru, on why she can’t wait for this year’s festival.
Guest post by: Sarah Daniels, aka Marketing Intern. When Sarah isn't trying out new cooking recipes, reading a good book, or in class she likes to take long walks with her weenie dog.
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