The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

Social Fundraising Deconstructed

Social Fundraising DeconstructedWhile social fundraising is a critical concept to understand, it can also be a complicated one. But when you can embrace the idea and add it to everything your nonprofit is doing, it can be a powerful force that can help take both your fundraising goals, and your awareness goals, to the next level. 

Social fundraising is the act of getting people (supporters, donors, evangelists, fundraisers, etc.) to post to their personal networks about the actions that they take related to your cause. 

And the key to social fundraising is that it’s not about having to do more; it’s about maximizing what you’re already doing. It’s a layered approach, adding more value to things like ticket purchases, donations, and personal philanthropic narratives. During a time when nonprofits aren’t just having trouble growing, but having trouble staying financially sound, the power and value of social fundraising can create immense benefits. 

The real value of a share 

There are a lot of mixed reviews out there about the value of a share. Some claim that a share doesn’t do much for their cause or mission. 

However, we’ve seen the exact opposite to be true and have found that tremendous value can be created, cultivated, and sustained for your organization when your supporters share the actions they take with your cause. 

If you can think holistically about your organization, shares have the power to provide real value to your mission awareness programs, marketing programs, fundraising programs, recruitment programs, and more. 

How does it work? 

When your supporters tap into their own personal networks on social media, they are reaching out to a large group of people that would be very difficult for an organization, such as a nonprofit, to reach on its own. Why? Because you don’t have access to your community’s friends, and because growing your list is expensive and hard.

Growing your list by leaps and bounds takes not only monetary resources but also manpower and a huge amount of time. However, when you encourage your supporters to share the actions they’ve taken with your organization (a donation, a ticket purchase to an event, a personal experience, etc.), you are tapping into an otherwise impossible to reach network. 

This network is heavily invested in the life of the person sharing. The share is authentic and can create intrigue by the audience to take some sort of action themselves, whether it’s taking a look at the campaign page (awareness), making a donation, or even sharing the original share with their networks—thus expanding reach even further. 

The average share 

The average user on Facebook has 155 friends. Based on this number, how many “average” Facebook supporters would you need to share the action they took with your cause in order to reach 10,000 new people? 65. Having just 65 supporters share with their Facebook communities leads to over 10,000 new connections that you otherwise wouldn’t have had. And that’s just on average. Those acts of social fundraising sound much more effective than trying to gain 10,000 new connections by organizing more galas, sending more direct mail, or pounding the pavement. 

And, when someone who does donate shares the fact that they gave, about 20 percent of the time it results in a new donation. 

The difference between fundraising on social and social fundraising 

One of the biggest misconceptions about social fundraising is that it simply means to be active on social media using your nonprofit account. 

When you solicit donations via posts on your nonprofit’s social account, this is called fundraising on social. However, the larger opportunity of social fundraising is when you actually get your supporters to spread the word on your behalf on their own social channels. 

It really comes down to WHO is doing the sharing. 

When you, the nonprofit, shares, your audience is either most likely a limited segment of your current followers or some new supporters that you acquired via paid boosted posts. 

When your supporter shares, however, the audience is a network of friends and family that is typically out of reach to a nonprofit. These people are invested in what their friend is saying and their authentic tone leads to new awareness reach, as well as donations from new supporters. 

When you add social fundraising to your fundraising mix, you have the power to increase your reach, spread awareness, and raise more money for your organization. GIve it a try ... you’ll be so glad you did.

Social Fundraising DeconstructedGary Wohlfeill is the Director of Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “3rd best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise" and hopes one day to slip to 4th.”

Topics: Fundraising Social Fundraising