publication date: Mar 22, 2012
author/source: Sumac Research
Which social media channel is giving your charity the results you want? Take our poll at right.
Thanks to social media, nonprofits have many more options
for running and promoting a campaign. With dozens of free websites at your
disposal, the potential for reaching more supporters is enormous, even for
small nonprofits with little or no budget.
Want to tap into the power of social media to raise money
for your organization? Here are three steps to a killer social media campaign
and some examples to inspire you.
1. Start with an idea
Social media is all about creating buzz. It's a fast-moving
environment with a lot of competition, so you've got to have a great idea worth
sharing. What does that mean?
The most successful fundraising campaigns have a few things
in common. They are creative, speak to people, and make it easy to participate
and share. Here are a few examples of some really good ones:
2. Create a buzz
with Love is a unique Mother's Day Campaign created by Epic Change. It raised close to $17,000 for
Mama Lucy in her efforts to educate children in Tanzania. Supporters were
encouraged to honour their own mothers by making a donation and then creating a
virtual scrapbook or "heartspace" on the site. They could then share their
"heartspace" with their mother, friends and family via Twitter and Facebook, or
via a customized e-card.
Another clever idea was the Great
Whale Trail campaign created by Greenpeace. Greenpeace
partnered with scientists to track whales using GPS while they migrated south
through dangerous waters where the whales are hunted. They encouraged
supporters to become involved by making personal fundraising pages in support
of the cause. Over 5,000 personal fundraising pages were created, raising over
Finally, the It Gets Better campaign, launched as a YouTube video with a
positive message to anyone who has been bullied, was successful because the
message resonated well with a very large population and was easy to share. It
quickly went viral with over 1,553,552 views!
Now, once you've got a great idea worth sharing, you'll need
to determine how best to share it. Dozens of social media websites offer dozens
of options! But you'll need to strategize in order to make it a success. Here
are three tips for choosing the right avenue:
3. Follow up with
where your supporters are. In order to determine how best to
reach potential supporters, you'll need to find out where they are. Are
they on Facebook, Twitter, Digg? Do they like to use personal fundraising
pages? If so, this is probably your
best bet for getting your message out.
the best medium for your message. Think about which medium
makes the most sense for your message. The medium is not just a distribution
tool, but part of the campaign idea itself. And in some cases, the medium
is the message. Greenpeace's Unfriend
Coal campaign, for instance, was successful because it was promoted on
Facebook, the very network it was campaigning through.
more, the merrier. Don't think you have to promote only through
the top medium for your supporters or for your message. Instead, choose several
that will allow you to reach the widest audience and feed into your primary
channel. The "It Gets Better" campaign's primary channel, for instance,
was YouTube, but the campaign was also shared using Reddit, Facebook,
Twitter and Digg. You can never go wrong with more!
After you've spread the word, created a buzz, and started
raising money, don't stop there. As with any other campaign, you'll want to
follow up with supporters with a "thank you" and some updates on the specific
campaign they supported in order to ensure they become lasting supporters.
This article was contributed by Sumac Fundraising
Software. Sumac is giving back to nonprofits by offering its software free to
organizations with fewer than 500 contacts.
For more information, visit www.sumac.com.For more examples of great social media
campaigns run by nonprofits, check out 15 Extraordinary Social Media Campaigns.