To survive and thrive in the current zeitgeist, all nonprofits must master at least five skills, of which one is online social fundraising. There are numerous reasons why this is so; today I want to focus on using social media strategies to build dynamic donor relationships.
The chief reason this is so critical is that nonprofits are hemorrhaging –losing, on average, over half of their donors every year.
Whatever nonprofits are doing currently, it’s not working especially well. So adding an additional relatively inexpensive donor retention strategy into your existing donor development plan makes sense. I encourage you to read my complete in-depth article on the subject on the Maximize Social Business blog. But if you’re pressed for time, here are some quick highlights.
1. Take Folks Behind the Scenes
One of the best ways to make donors feel special, and more connected to your organization, is to give them an “insider” view. How about making a behind-the-scenes video of your work in action; then uploading it to Vimeo or YouTube to share as a link via social media? Or conduct an intimate interview with your executive director, a doctor, scientist, principal ballerina or program director; then share via a link.
2. Acknowledge, Thank and Delight
Always be thinking of new ways you can give donors, sponsors and supporters an unexpected thumbs up or pat on the back. How about shooting a short thank you video on your smartphone, and then using Vine or Instagram to share with your donors? Or what about sending a brief video of your staff saying “Thanks Susie Supporter!” as a Twitter link? (See “You Did It. Thank You” video by One Justice). How about using Canva or PicMonkey to create a cute, funny or inspiring graphic to surprise your donors with how much they’re appreciated?
3. Publicly Recognize and Honor
Praise grows in a group setting. Most folks love it when their friends get to see a compliment that was made about them. How about endorsing your donors on LinkedIn? Retweet some of their tweets. Share some of their Facebook posts. Comment on articles they post. Create a Pinterest board to which you can “pin” your “Star Supporters,” “Razoo Raisers,” and “Legacy Leaders.” Or simply pin photos you’ve taken of volunteers volunteering (see Habitat for Humanity), Gala goers partying (see San Francisco Symphony) or walkathon participants walking (see Avon Breast Cancer Walk).
4. Share Your Stories at the Online Water Cooler
Social media provides an amazing way to communicate with donors in real time. Just go where your donors are hanging out online and begin to share what’s up at your nonprofit. Make your donors smile when they see the results their gift helped achieve. Consider live tweeting from your events. Share images in your Twitter feed (Check out the Charity: Water twitter feed — replete with pinnable photos). Tell short stories on Facebook (See the Make A Wish Foundation Facebook page – filled with videos, pictures, and emotionally heartrending stories of children who’ve been touched by the foundation’s efforts. Supporters are often moved to comment, like and share these posts. Upload your story to video; then share as a link (see “The Faces of Opportunity” video by Opportunity Fund). Get into the habit of social storytelling – always making your donor the hero.
5. Host an Exclusive Social Media Event
Getting donors involved in “insider” events builds loyalty and drives positive engagement. Consider a Google Hangout, an invitation-only Facebook group or a public event such as a Tweetchat. Feature a conversation with your Executive Director or offer folks an opportunity to “Ask the Expert.” Online events do a great job of making donors feel like they belong to your tribe, and have the benefit of providing them with an opportunity to learn more about areas of particular interest, offer opinions and advice, and get their questions answered.
What ideas do you have for using social media to strengthen relationships with donors? Please share in the comments below.
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