If you’re a nonprofit fundraiser, you understand the power of social media tools to dramatically increase donations. According to recent studies, online giving increased a full 130% between 2007 and 2010, which correlated with the ascendance of major social networks like Facebook and Twitter into the center of the ongoing national conversation (firstgiving.com). The fact that this increase occurred during one of the toughest economic periods in many decades serves to further accentuate the point – if you want to raise money for your charity effectively, you need to leverage all available social technologies.
We’re all familiar with Facebook pages, and Twitter tweets, and blog posts, and even photo sharing on Pinterest and Instagram. We see the value in these tools, and so we use them, and by and large we find that they work – we are able to raise more money by tapping into the power of social networks.
Of course, just because we’re used to social media now doesn’t mean we can stop innovating. Social technologies have become much more robust and powerful over the last few years – few months, even – and as fundraisers, it is incumbent on us to stay current with these technologies. After all, we’re not just doing this for a paycheck – we care about the causes we support professionally, and we know that if we fully leverage the power of technology, we can directly impact more positive change around the world and in our communities.
Recently, a new wave of innovation in the social fundraising world has provided nonprofit fundraisers with unique opportunities and challenges as they seek to increase donations and engagement in a world where people are increasingly distracted. It’s no secret that we’re bombarded with ads all the time, essentially everywhere where there’s a screen – from your tablet, to your phone, to your laptop, and beyond. Even if it’s more difficult to attract the attention of potential donors, there’s one source of attention that we can continuously rely on to cause our followers and supporters to stop and listen: their friends and family.
That’s where peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising comes in, providing nonprofit fundraisers with the critical ability to earn their supporters’ attention by tapping into their friends and family – a reliable and consistent source of information and knowledge that isn’t going anywhere. P2P fundraising isn’t a new concept per se. After all, nonprofits have been hosting 5Ks and bake sales for decades. But new technology platforms are allowing nonprofits to escalate the impact of these communal events – in some cases, allowing nonprofits to engage in events that are hosted entirely online.
The idea of P2P fundraising, also commonly known as third party fundraising, is that your supporters raise funds for you. New platforms are now on the market that allow nonprofit supporters to leverage every single tool of social technology out there to amplify their reach, and ultimately raise more money for the cause that you share with them. Facebook shares, Twitter tweet, Pinterest pins, and YouTube videos all can be leveraged by your supporters to engage the people that listen to them the most – their friends, family, coworkers, and community members.
Social proof isn’t a new concept; in fact, advertisers have been tapping into this fact of human nature to sell more product for a hundred years – positioning their products with beautiful men and women, or athletes, and recently, friends and family through social media. Now, with a robust P2P fundraising platform, all of those social media channels can be aggregated on a dedicated page specific to your supporter, that provides context for their fundraising, helpful resources, and the sharing tools required to make a campaign go viral – even if that virality is condensed within their social groups.
It’s paramount to remember that people donate more when they’re asked to donate by friends and family – in secular charities, the bump is right around 19% more, and in religious charities, the bump (more like a launch) averages 42% more (Association of Fundraising Professionals). When leveraging these powerful P2P fundraising tools, nonprofits tap into human nature in the best possible way – encouraging their supporters to engage their own networks to raise money for your shared cause, and using the most state-of-the-art, accessible technology on the market today.
What’s more, this technology is available at price points that most nonprofits can afford. Rallybound has created a P2P fundraising software calculator to make sure that you can interface with the technology at a reasonable cost: http://peertopeerfundraisingcalculator.com/ The calculator includes metrics such as startup costs, transaction fees, customization and more, so as you look into P2P fundraising, this tool can provide a complete picture to help you make an informed decision.
If you haven’t tried fundraising with a P2P platform, then you’re missing out on a sea change in how human beings influence each other for the greater good. Posting on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter is great – hosting contests is fantastic – but new technology allows us to aggregate all of these social technologies into a single web page to make the most of the friends-and-family opportunity – an opportunity that isn’t going anywhere.
Now that you see the opportunity, the next step is to see how responsive your community is to this next stage in the phenomenon of social fundraising. With the potential to engage your supporters more effectively and raise more much-needed funds for the cause you care about, what are you waiting for?
The preceding is a guest post by Auren Kaplan, blogger for Rallybound, a P2P fundraising platform. He believes that the use of technology for the benefit of nonprofits and their causes is only just getting started. Read more of his posts on Huffington Post. To learn more about Rallybound’s innovative P2P fundraising tool, visit Rallybound.com.