Wrong Ways to Woo Nonprofit Donors
Tried and true fundraising strategies are great. Layering on social media can pump them up and make them better.
Think of social media as putting your mother’s fundraising on steroids. Don’t we want to be the best? And it not only makes you stronger; it’s completely legal!
Innovation takes us to the next level – generating more awareness among more people, creating greater engagement and involvement and, ultimately, boosting investment in our cause so we can continue to fulfill our mission.
The truth in our ‘old chestnut’ standby strategies is that they’re great at building and sustaining relationships. That’s what fundraising is really about. It’s not about a one-night stand. It’s about engaging folks for the long term.
Another truth is that social media is a killer engagement tool. As Amy Stephan posts on Windmill Networking, Nonprofits and Social Media: Innovate the Basics, there’s no time like the present to get on track. Last fall I spoke about our need to fully occupy philanthropy – i.e., the landscape in which we find ourselves today; one which lends itself well to social networking:
If I demonstrate to you personally (face-to-face, via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) how an organization is effectively meeting a real need… then you tell a friend… then your friend tells a friend… and so on, pretty soon we have a large community of folks who perceive the organization’s value to society. This motivates them to become invested, whether they are a prince or a pauper. And the act of giving connects them and enfranchises them, giving meaning and purpose to their lives. Rather than diminishing returns, we now have potential for exponential expansion. The market for something to believe in is infinite.
It used to be hard for the 99% to find us and vice-versa. We reached them via direct mail, and that was dependent on our access to lists of names and addresses. If they’d never heard of us, and we had limited marketing resources for outreach, fuggedaboutit. Now, through a host of brand spanking new tools – blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, SEO, wikis, podcasts… not to mention email and websites, we have no legitimate excuse to eschew democracy. The era of ‘rule of the people’ is here. Just because what we’ve been doing in this regard has been yielding unsatisfactory results, we are not absolved from persevering and planning strategically to connect with our base.
Over the next few weeks I’d like to discuss some of this new layering of communications channels we have at our disposal.
They’re tools. Nothing more; nothing less. Human beings are pretty good with tools. Anthropologists believe the use of tools had a large part in our evolution.Now is no time for us to stop evolving. Yet it remains a challenge for many of us. A recent article in the Huffington Post quoted Dr. Linda Gravett:
Many boomers are not coping well. I’ve had so many boomers say to me, I’m not going to learn how to text, I want to talk to someone face-to-face doggone it and I’m going to track them down till I find them face-to-face,” she said. “I say, you have to learn that if you want to communicate with people across all age groups then learn how to text, learn how to instant message, get out of your comfort zone and your rigidity that every kind of communication must be either by letter or email or even face to face because that isn’t necessarily practical.
The best adviceI can offer is to stay as current as possible, embrace change and have some fun. Remember being a kid? We learned by playing. Which brings me to…?
STRONG TO THE FINISH! In the coming month I’ll blog about email, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and all those other things that can strengthen our ability to build mutually satisfying bonds with our constituents. Let’s debunk the myths… reveal the magician’s secrets… look behind the wizard’s curtain. It’s not that mysterious once we set our minds to the task. Trust me. Troglodyte has been my middle name much, much longer than Early Adopter. Our biggest enemy is ourselves.
We may be mad in March; by April we’ll be astute and no longer will we:
It’s time to get with the ‘sharing is sexy’ times!