Post, Tweet, Text, or Share: How to Reach Donors in 2013
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We’ve welcomed social media platforms into our personal lives with open arms: swapping funny GIFs on our Facebook walls, Instagramming pictures of our meals and tweeting inspirational quotes on the daily. And with more than 1 billion users on Facebook alone, it’s become apparent that social channels have displaced earlier forms of communication. It seems only natural, then, that the methods companies use to contact their consumers must also evolve to better reach those 1.15 billion Facebookers.
The scenario should be no different for nonprofit organizations. As associations dependent on the goodwill of their constituents, it’s pertinent that not-for-profits utilize trending engagement platforms to spread word of their cause and interact with existing as well as potential donors.
Recent changes in constituent perspectives have also contributed to the adjustments in NPO marketing strategies among NPOs, with donors acting more stringent than ever before about gifting money to not-for-profits. These new network dynamics have transformed the marketing efforts of nonprofits from being just another way of acquiring benefactors to a key point of contact for growing one’s base of constituents.
Outreach Techniques, Multiplied
Between posting, texting, tweeting, sharing, pinning and circling, nonprofit outreach has morphed from your run-of-the-mill email and mail campaigns to a multifaceted, multi-channel strategy not far from being considered its own living organism.
Where once emails, snail mail and cold calls sufficed, now stronger, more diversified engagement strategies prevail. Volunteers and team members in charge of outreach and marketing activities have a host of platforms to juggle; such a list typically includes the following, each with unique content predilections:
- Facebook (98 percent of nonprofits have a Facebook page)
Despite the time necessary, current social portals are giving NPOs more ways to connect with and secure donors and more ways to explain their purpose. Facebook, Twitter and the like have revamped the nonprofit-member relationship, sparking stronger networks of support and a more open communication strategy. The grassroots nature of social media also encourages constituents to actively participate and promote causes in a way that previous passive donors never had to do.
If your team can manage them, real-time interactions with your constituents will tremendously impact your nonprofit in the long run, building more powerful and genuine relationships with people committed to your cause. First, though, your organization must incite potential donors, which requires your NPO to attend to the changing needs of the 21st-century donor.
The Mindset of the Modern Constituent
Now more than ever, it’s essential for not-for-profits to participate in social media. NPOs depend on their constituents to carry out their mission, and yet that support base has changed significantly. Donors in the modern age have acquired significantly different needs from constituents in the late 20th century, or even the early 21st century.
Today’s donors have a shorter attention span, require more convincing to spread their wealth (so to speak) and in general possess a greater sense of entitlement to information. 21st-century constituents also want to engage with organizations on their own terms, making it virtually impossible to orchestrate a successful campaign with brochures in the mail and cold calls.
If you take the time to acknowledge and accommodate these qualities through your social media engagement practices, you’ll ultimately help your NPO achieve brand awareness, solidify a benefactor base and be able to explore modernized nonprofit revenue pipelines.
Why It’s Worth the Effort
On the other side of the spectrum, donations are easier to obtain than ever before. Once you’ve hooked your constituents, it’s as simple as sending a text or including a hashtag for them to give to your organization.
At the most basic level, social platforms make it incredibly efficient for donors to support your NPO’s cause — a must in the age of short attention spans spawned by the internet. Beyond that, the wealth of portals for receiving monetary gifts allows you to easily expand your nonprofit fundraising efforts, offering an expanded audience base without too much additional work from your end.
Take blogger Beth Kanter, who this past summer encouraged people to donate to the Surf Rider Foundation to honor her father’s passing. She asked readers and friends to tweet or post on Facebook using the hashtag #OceanLoveEarl with their favorite ocean stories. Though not directly associated with the organization herself, her efforts as an unofficial spokesperson for Surf Rider led to a total donation amounting more than $5,000 in the span of two weeks.
Additionally, with leading nonprofit management software offering social media integration and other modern communication capabilities, it’s becoming increasingly easy for your not-for-profit to connect with potential donors and begin a potentially meaningful affiliation. Long story short: adopting social media profiles will not only help your nonprofit gain public visibility but also allow you to engage with potential donors on a deeper, more meaningful level.
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