Whether you fall into the “it was just dumb luck” or the “whoa… that was brilliant” camp when it comes to evaluating the recent Ice Bucket Challenge social media + fundraising phenomenon, there is certainly much to be learned.
I’m still amazed at the pooh-poohers who are wringing their hands over the fact that it’s highly unlikely ALS will retain more than 30% of these donors because these donors are new and new donor retention rates are abysmal . True, but… they secured over 3 million donors! So, at bare minimum, they’ve got 3 million “leads.”
What can your nonprofit do to develop your own lead generation strategies? I weigh in on this in depth in a recent article for Maximize Social Business, and encourage you to read the full post. You can get the chief take-aways, in a nutshell, here:
- You gotta have a gimmick. People are inundated with information today. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd without a gimmick.
- Social media matters. A lot. This challenge went viral only because ordinary people – what’s been called “Generation C” for “connected” – shared it with their networks.
- Your gimmick must incorporate elements of fun and accessibility. This required only a bucket, some water and ice, and a cell phone video for sharing.
- Your gimmick must play to peoples’ egos. The Ice Bucket Challenge was the “selfie” on steroids. Point a camera at yourself doing something corny; then infuse it with a higher purpose.
- The crowd is a powerful influencer. One of the reasons folks shared and shared and shared this challenge was because they saw celebrities, sports heroes, titans of industry and peers doing so. People will tend to imitate others they view as authorities.
- The crowd is most likely to share trending topics. In this case, the Ice Bucket Challenge itself became the buzzed about topic.
- Tying your organization’s name to the gimmick is critical for maximum impact. My hunch is that if this had been spread as the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” it would have generated even more donations.
- You need a plan in place for “next steps” when folks take the action you call for. Once you have your leads the goal must be to convert these folks into “donors.” This means having a retention strategy in place. All the time. Not just for windfalls.
There’s a lot of competition for donor dollars in the market place. If you want your share, you’ve got to go after it. You never know when lightning may strike. Best to be ready. And better to plan to make some lightning of your own.
What will you do differently to generate more donor leads next year? Will your strategy be informed by the Ice Bucket Challenge? Please share in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.com
I think all of your points were right on. I never thought of the selfies aspect but I think you hit the nail on the head with why it turned into such a large fundraiser. I feel another way to boost fundraising is to allow for giving pages. This is the 21st century version of a pledge page for runners running for a cure. When individual people take up the cause and fundraise as much as they can in their area and all the money goes straight to the organization. Giving Pages are going to be the next big thing! You can read all about them, how they are used, what they are for here: https://www.continuetogive.com/content/help_givingpages.html
Thanks for this comment Abigail, and thanks also for sharing this article about Giving Pages. I do think this is one of the many ways that crowd funding will become more and more popular. Whatever can be done to make this user-friendly, I’m all for it!
I’ll let you know after the ALS Executive Director for Western New York speaks at our monthly AFP luncheon next Wednesday.
She’s going to talk about everything you mentioned as well as the impact of the ice bucket challenge on their other fundraising initiatives.