Social Media Makes a Splash at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference | npENGAGE

Social Media Makes a Splash at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference

By on Apr 19, 2010


Last week at the 47th Annual Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference in Baltimore, online fundraising and outreach was a key issue covered throughout the event and the topic of social media was more popular than ever to this group of fundraising pros. With new research and findings from studies like “The Next Generation of American Giving” fundraisers were keen on learning more about how to use social media to help raise money and boost organizational awareness.

Former President of AFP Golden Gate Nicci Noble and current AFP Golden Gate President and Development Director of Center for Environmental Health Sean Sullivan presented on “How Tweet It Is!: Mastering Social Media for Fundraising Success”. (**full presentation slides can be found here) My favorite quote from their presentation – “Gardens are lovely as long as you water them. Facebook [or any social network] is your garden.” I thought this simple statement really drove home the crux of what social media is all about. Creating a meaningful relationship and conversation that grows over time.

Covering both Facebook and Twitter basics for nonprofit organizations, Nicci and Sean did a very important thing in their presentation: they explained why fundraising professionals should care about year-round relationships versus simply making “the ask” at predefined times of the year.

Retention challenges, Donors defect due to:

– Poor acknowledgement
– Limited information about how their funds are being used
– Belief that other causes are more deserving
– They don’t remember to give
– Poor support

On top of the retention challenges, donor acquisition is very expensive. On average most groups spend $1 to raise $1. By using social media to connect with an ever growing pool of prospects, get you message and mission out to a broader audience and provide unprecedented opportunities for interactive engagement,  nonprofits can both help retain donors throughout the year while simultaneously cultivating prospects at little to no cost.

Covering more  strategic planning and advice from organizations that have learned a great deal over the past years for social media, Navigating the Waters in the Sea of Social Media Options was presented by James Young of Convio, Ken Cho, CEO of the Social Agency (ie: Spredfast) and Carie Lewis, Director of Emerging Media at the HSUS. At a high level, some of the main takeaways from this group included the outlining of questions to ask when formulating your overall strategy, deciding what to measure and ensuring the right tactics are used.

Questions to ask when formulating your strategy:

– What do you want to achieve?
– Do you really want to do this?
– Are your constituents ready?
– Are you ready to do it and be successful?
– When are you going to start and finish?

Measuring success properly by answering the correct questions:

– Which measurements mean success?
– Where are you now?
– What are the right moments to measure?
– What about qualitative data?
– Where is my ruler?

Using the right tactics:

– Listening and hearing the conversation
– Analyzing the conversation and making sure you communicate these well within your organization
– Enabling easy sharing of all your content with sharing tools and pre-configured messages for each channel
– Conversing the right way: be human, be polite, be present
– Integrate, Integrate, Integrate with all other programs and outlets where your messages are being shared

With all the great content and the large crowds in the sessions, it was clear that social media was a hot topic for fundraisers and one that will likely continue to grow in interest. So Im curious to hear, what are the areas you think fundraisers need to enhance with social media efforts for success? Or, if you are a fundraiser, what else do you need to know/learn about social media to create successful online campaigns in the social media sphere?


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