The Tortoise and the Hare of Social Fundraising

Image by frefran

“1 in 4 emails turns into a donation.” This is what a recent Blackbaud study on social fundraising found based on its own “Friends Asking Friends” social fundraising model. Blackbaud, with the help of @shanesnow, developed an intriguing infographic to capture this and other key findings that represent the evolution of the social fundraising space.

Key findings shared include:

  • Participants who use online fundraising tools raise six times more money than those who don’t.
  • 60% of fundraising participants are between the ages of 30-49.
  • 50% of people who donated said they donated because “a friend asked me.”
  • Most fundraisers use a multi-channel approach to recruiting donations.

Beyond the Silver Bullet

They say an image is worth a thousand words. Well, the insights provided in this image could be worth not just words—but crucial donations. Two items stand out as key take-aways:

1. Social fundraising via social media is important to understand and apply—however don’t overlook the importance and potential email marketing efforts can offer as well. If there was an easy button to meeting needs and solving problems—fundraising would be the least of our concerns.

2. Though the number of avenues available to collect donations may increase, especially through social channels, a strategic and integrated approach is often the best course of action. Indeed, in this same study, Blackbaud found that fundraisers who used a holistic approach and combined social tools into their communications efforts — increased their fundraising by as much as 40%.

Blackbaud recommends four social tools to be thinking about given this information: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and ShareThis. While this is understandable, here’s what you might also want to consider before you jump into the tools:

Know your goals, identify your story, and connect with a vested community who want to invest in your mission for both the short-term and the long term. As Jonathon Grapsas, fundraising development director at the Pareto group, told Marketing Week: “Truly strategic fundraisers are less focused on now as opposed to thinking about tomorrow.”

Social might be sexy—but slow and steady wins the game. What do you think—Given this information, what would you recommend?