This is the second of our four-part series of frank talks on social fundraising and its effect on the future of your non-profit with Managing Partners Todd Levy and Paul Ghiz of Global Cloud, the makers of DonorDrive Social Fundraising software. Part 2 covers how social fundraising hands you new donors and how to address their needs in order to retain them.
Social Fundraising is introducing you to new donors.
Face it: traditional donors are playing less and less a role in non-profit funding. Most likely your non-profit has felt it, which gives financial evidence to take to your Executive Board to convince them that you need to seek out new donors. Part of the problem is that many of these new donors don’t respond to a phone call or mailed letter, but they’re ready to listen and act on social media.
A huge benefit of social fundraising is that it engages new donors. It connects you with those who have never donated to your cause before and even others who are donating to a cause for the first time. With social fundraising it’s all about your constituents making introductions to new donors.
Paul: “How can you get your constituent to introduce you to their friend? The best way to do it in my opinion is in storytelling. If I read a story in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times and I think it’s relevant to a friend or colleague, I’m going to share it. It’s the same principle with social fundraising when it comes to a story being delivered by someone on behalf of a non-profit organization. If you tell a compelling story that connects with your listener, they’re going to want to learn more. They’re going to spend a little more time investigating your cause and ultimately you’ll have an opportunity to make the ask. If the story was truly compelling, they may volunteer to give before you even make the ask.”
Todd: “Social fundraising through social media channels are where you’re leveraging existing relationships, asking somebody to stop, pause and say ‘Hey take a look at this because this is important to me.’ It’s a borrowed interest that they’re going to give you and hopefully you’re going to convince them to donate.”
New donors, stronger commitment.
These new donors (especially those 50 and under) are anything but traditional. As a whole, they’re more committed to the causes they choose. More and more, they’re both donor and participant.
Todd: “People don’t just want to write the check. They want to feel they’re truly making a difference. That’s why endurance events are the fastest growing segment of the fundraising space right now. Donors are taking a genuine interest and putting some blood, sweat and tears into this in addition to making a donation.”
Paul: “And just because somebody donated $25, don’t stop asking. There are other ways that they can get involved. This donor might give $25, but on the ”thank you“ message you can ask them how they feel they can have an impact on your organization. They may volunteer their time. Or you can change your thank you message: ‘Thanks for your donation. It would be fantastic if you would tell ten of your friends on Facebook. Here’s a link to share it on Twitter or LinkedIn.’ That’s how some of our clients are using the social fundraising tools that we built into DonorDrive. It makes it simple for that end user of your fundraising software to spread the word.”
Stop thinking letters and phone calls.
How donors communicate with non-profits is changing as well. Technology has given constituents a choice of how to communicate with you.
Paul: “Why not ask those in your constituent base how they want to communicate? And it may be social media. If they have limited time in their day they may always make a little time to look at Facebook or look at their Twitter feed. Others may be accustomed to living and breathing through their inbox. So why not ask them what their preferred method of communication with your organization is and support that. When you deliver on that request, it’s a small step that an organization can take, but it can have a big impact, especially from a retention perspective.”
Thanks may not be as important as proof.
When you communicate with this new donor they’re looking for something very different than thanks and gratitude: they’re looking for proof. To them it’s less of a donation and more of a personal investment in good.
Todd: “This new donor is saying, ‘I want a case example. I want to see evidence of dollars being used and I want to know if I give various amounts, how it will affect a change.’ They’re also saying ‘Tell me what I should be contributing. If you don’t ask me, I’ll probably just give you a nominal amount.’ But if you can say ‘this is going to make this type of impact,’ that’s going to make someone pause and hopefully they’ll make that difference. Today you should state ask amounts. And then show what each amount does. Tell them ‘if you give this amount it will help us pay for a child to stay in an ICU for a day or maybe pay for two weeks of safe housing for an abused teen in New York.’”
Social fundraising can be measured in more than dollars.
While the new donor is asking more of you, social fundraising allows you to better evaluate their personal impact on your cause. While board members may not get what a tweet really does, they understand numbers. So 1,000 tweets or 2,000 likes create new benchmarks that members can quickly learn to gauge.
Todd: “One of the benefits of social fundraising is that you can track what the person is doing: the events, the donations, but also the solicitations and how they’re interacting and representing the organization. That’s powerful because you can see who is making the biggest impact on your organization and hopefully find other people like that so you can get them working on your behalf. It’s no longer identifying influencers by hunch, you have data now.”