Social fundraising is hot!

Do you know how many of your supporters use popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube? 42.3% of the entire American population use Facebook. Twitter has over 16 million users. YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world. With usage stats like that it’s probably safe to assume that a large portion of your supporter are using at least one social network, right?

Knowing that nonprofit supporters around the world have been adopting the use of social networking in their daily lives we set out to figure out if the use of social networks had any impact on personal or peer-to-peer fundraising. The results we’re pretty amazing (though arguably not in any way shocking).

We found that participants who use social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube communicate with their networks more regularly and send more messages. This resulted in increased fundraising results by up to 40%.

So, how does the use of social networks have such a significant impact on fundraising? Here are a few points to consider:

Supporter Usage In Question

As you’ll see below and in the full research report or Social Fundraising INFOGRAPHIC using social networking tools has a significant impact on fundraising success, but a relatively small portion, slightly over 50%, take advantage of the opportunity.

FAFSMUsage1 Using Social Media Increases Fundraising by 40% [Study]
 

Twitter as a Multiplier

Twitter users set higher fundraising goals and raised more money. In fact, Twitter users increased their personal fundraising goals by at least three times more and raised nearly 10 times more online than their peers who did not use Twitter.

FAFSMTwitter Using Social Media Increases Fundraising by 40% [Study]
 

A Holistic Approach

Supporters who achieve the strongest fundraising success combine multiple social media tools (along with email and in person connections) in their communication efforts. Overall, participants that adopted integrated social media tools increased their fundraising by as much as 40 percent compared to their peers who weren’t using the available online tools.

FAFSMResults1 Using Social Media Increases Fundraising by 40% [Study]
 

So what should you do with information like this?

Here are four social tools you should be thinking about to help make your supporters more successful fundraisers:

Facebook – Allowing your participants to synch their Facebook account directly from their personal fundraising headquarters allows them to update their current fundraising goal to friends, family and colleagues and provides a direct link back to their personal fundraising page.  This one is all about simplicity…sure, anyone can update their Facebook status with a link to their personal fundraising page, but if you’re offering your participants a way to do it that’s integrated with their fundraising headquarters, you’ll see more participants sending more messages…and in turn raising more money.

Twitter – 140 characters isn’t a lot of real estate, but if event managers allowed participants to link their Twitter account to their personal fundraising page, those participants could engage their Twitter network with fundraising updates and a link back to their page so people can donate.  Again this is about simplicity- anyone can update Twitter, but allowing participants to do it directly from their headquarters is easier on them and will get your message out to their network,

YouTube – A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well how many words is a video worth?  While a static image can help your participant personalize their fundraising page, just think what a video could do. A personal message directly from your participant about why your cause is so important to them will help them achieve their goals.  Help your event participants understand the power of a video appeal and even provide a script they can use to record their own!

ShareThis – While the three social tools mentioned above are the baseline, what happens when you want to give your participants access to other social networks like StumbleUpon®, Digg®, and Yahoo!®?   The easiest way is to add the ShareThis button to your participant’s personal fundraising page, that way they can share their passion for your organization with anyone, anywhere they have an account.  Give your event participants an idea of how to use social media more effectively and throw in some out-of-the-box ideas to help them get started.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, helps nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising so they can focus changing the world. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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