It seems these days everybody is talking about Social Network Fundraising, yet few people can agree exactly what it means. This article will explain the key aspects of this fundraising strategy phenomenon and explain the benefits, as well as the technology features you should look for when evaluating or implementing this strategy.
Social Network Fundraising is actually a very old concept. Before email and the Internet, many successful organizations ran special events that depended on their constituents social networks to raise money. Constituents would participate in an event, such as a walk-a-thon, and ask their friends, family, and colleagues to sponsor them through personal interaction or even the mail. They would collect donations from their supporters and turn them in during the event. The process, while sometimes inefficient and time consuming, was still very effective because of the personal connection between the supporter and the person being solicited.
The basic tenets of modern social network fundraising simply makes it much easier for supporters to communicate their personal story of why your cause is important to them, and then make it much easier for them to use technology to reach out to many more people. This is primarily done via emails, and even blogs or their personal websites where they can provide a link to seek donations. They can also leverage very popular social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace by providing supporters graphical icons (widgets) that they can place on their pages to promote their support for your cause. (Although these social network sites have some limited features for raising funds, they are much better as a communication tool for your constituent. See below for what to look for in social network fundraising software.)
Besides making it easier for supporters, today’s technology also improves the donor’s experience by making it quick and easy to give online. It also provides immediate recognition via automatic email receipting, and potentially via recognition on your supporter’s webpage.
It all starts with your organization creating a campaign with a specific goal that can be easily tied to a special event, virtual event, petition, tribute, memorial, personal event, anniversary, or even a capital campaign. You then communicate that goal to your constituents, and provide them the social networking tools to create a webpage that describes your goal and communicates their passion to help you achieve it. Web 2.0 technology enables them to do this easily – they simply fill in a template, upload some personal photos, and write their personal story- all located on a compelling webpage that matches your site.
One key concept to remember is that the constituent’s social network is really responding to the constituent, not your organization. The good news is that the donor is now at least aware of your cause. You typically can’t just treat them as a committed constituent, but you do have a great opportunity to develop them into a direct supporter. This means you’ll need to educate them, ask them if they want additional information such as newsletters, and interact with them in a much more indirect way. With enough education and a “soft” touch, this person may then become more directly involved and willing to contribute again and again.Benefits of Social Network Fundraising:
- Empower constituents to recruit others to achieve your goals
- Tap into constituent social networks to raise more money
- Educate more people for action and advocacy of your mission
- Reduce new donor acquisition expenses
More information: Call us at 800-220-8111. Or visit: www.donorperfect.com/moreinfo