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Follow-up to Fundraising with Social Media Webinar

During the June 26 social media fundraising webinar with my co-presenter Lesley Mansford, CEO of Razoo, I received several questions I wasn’t able to answer live. See below for my follow-up:

Q: It’s hard for us to narrow it down to calculate the impact that a $50 donation has in our mission. Do you have examples of similar organizations that have been able to do that?

DarianRodriguez_Heyman2 Darian Rodriguez Heyman

A: One of my favorite examples of this is Heifer International. Although they share very concrete examples of the impact your support can have on low-income families’ quality of life, these are just samples and the funds actually funny to general operating support. Given that this is crucial for the success of any nonprofit, I encourage you to take a peek at the language they use to walk this line so gracefully and maximize fundraising results.

Q: We have a social media committee but are having trouble getting it off the ground. Some of our board and staff are active on social media, but not all. How do you propose we get more key social media influencers to participate with us on social media?

A: The first step is identifying who those key influencers are - running the free RowFeeder reports (note: they also offer expensive paid ones as well) is a great way to get a sense of which of your existing followers are most connected, and then it’s as simple as reaching out to them with a message or post, thanking them for connecting, and asking them if they’re open to contributing five minutes a week to help you (insert your mission here).

From there, the key is to engage everyone on your committee in a “low touch, high value” capacity. Here you only email them once a week with a *very* brief message with clear action steps and making it obvious that you respect their time. A simple template for this could look like:

Subject: Five Minutes of Your Time

Email:

Bob,

Thanks so much for your support. Here are three things you can do in the next five minutes to help us (insert mission here):

1) Here’s a link to our Facebook Page (insert link here). Go there and like, comment, or share at least three of our posts.

2) Here’s a link to our Twitter page (insert link here). Go there and retweet or remix at least two of our posts.

3) (Fill in the black with one immediate need that would help your cause but not require more than 2-3 minutes of their time, i.e. invite 5 people to follow you on Facebook, invite 2 people to attend your gala event, etc.)

Hope this helps. In addition to engaging your committee, this strategy will also help build buzz and traffic on your various social networks.

Q: Is there an optimal # of days/months or range to run a campaign?

A: This definitely varies based on specifics, but in general, you want to tee your campaign up at least 2-3 months in advance, and do some “soft” marketing of it to initial allies and existing supporters, so you can line up campaign champions that will spread the word and enlist the support of their network. Also, it’s key to “seed the tip jar” and get some initial donations through the crowd funding platform, so that when you publicly promote it folks don’t show up and see a big goose egg on the thermometer.

In an ideal world, you’d also line up a match or challenge grant, so folks feel like whatever they contribute will be even bigger. Once you’ve done all that, you should wait until *no more* than 45 days out to launch your campaign, since anything more than that will undermine the sense of urgency, leading people to postpone their attention and support.

Planning in advance also helps ensure you have an editorial calendar and communications plan in place ahead of time, so that you have the capacity to iterate once the actual campaign beings and things change, which they always do.

The preceding is a follow-up by Darian Rodriguez Heyman, the co-founder Social Media for Nonprofits, to questions submitted by participant during the June 26, 2013, webinar about fundraising using social media, with Lesley Mansford, CEO, Razoo, and Board Member, Razoo Foundation. To view the presentation or listen to the recording of the webinar, please click here. Darian is the editor of Nonprofit Management 101, the former executive director of Craigslist Foundation, and the creator of their Nonprofit Boot Camp.

Topics: Fundraising