I work with many nonprofits on social fundraisers, and one of the most common questions I get is, “How do I find new donors with social media?” Finding these new donors can be elusive. More often than not, these organizations and individuals have tried social media-based fundraising unsuccessfully on their own and have doubts.
The first thing is to examine which tactics they tried. Almost always it’s one of these two:
- Emailed the donor list and asked them to donate “using social media”
- Updated Facebook and Twitter and did not get (new) donors
Notice that both of these approaches involve a similar ask of already established donors, fans, and other members of the extended nonprofit. When you ask the same people for donations, you often get the same donors. What neither of them do is effectively reach new people.
To do develop new donors with social media, a nonprofit has to reach a different group of people. Because social media is a relationship game, fundraisers need to successfully reach new people through their extended network. In essence, the fundraiser must have a grassroots word-of-mouth strategy that engages online ambassadors (who can also be real world ambassadors, too) to go out and fundraise. By empowering others to fundraise for the organization, a nonprofit dramatically increases the likelihood of new donors.
Because friends of friends are probably people the organization is not engaging. They have similar interests as the ambassador, and therefore are more likely inclined to donate to the organization. This is particularly true of causes that address societal matters, like the environment, the arts, or social services.
Almost invariably, whether those ambassadors are staff, board members, or just good old fashioned passionate followers online this approach generates new donors. It’s really not that foreign a concept, as development officers will often ask their best and most passionate donors for help finding new recruits. In some cases, they bring them further into the fold, adding them to the board.
Now, the question is how to select these online fundraising ambassadors. More on that next week.
How do you find new donors using social media?