Using Facebook To Boost Donations And Constituent Engagement

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Summit Collaborative’s Marc Osten gave a free webinar yesterday about Facebook and how non-profits can use it to boost donations and engagement amongst constituents. He shared some great tips – here’s just a few of the points that were made and many of them apply to all businesses and brands, not just non-profits.

1) Social media is about engagement and building relationships which leads to increased CAPACITY for fundraising – not just about ‘direct asks’ (asking for donations right away). This echoes the point of  a recent article I read about how a small non-profit, Critical Exposure, was able to win the Global Giving challenge for fundraising by engaging and leveraging their supporters social networks:

“The power of crowd-sourcing was the key to our success….From day one, we made it clear that we didn’t just need our supporters to open their wallets (our suggested donation was just $10). What we really needed was their ability to leverage their personal networks.”

2) Facebook is key in finding people with something in common, helping them find each other and to organize around their common interests to create relationship-driven activity online.

3) Stay up on what nonprofits are doing with Facebook by visiting: Facebook.com/nonprofits

Facebook features page – one-stop to find tools: http://www.facebook.com/help.php

4) Facebook offers many different tools and applications. Don’t get caught up in the hype around all the available tools – use only the ones that make sense for your mission and that work for your audience. Eg. ASPCA allows fans to post photos and videos of pets on the ASPCA Page, because they know that’s what animal lovers want to see. But this may not necessarily be appropriate for every organization. So only use the tools that make sense for your situation.

5) Marc made an interesting point about the difference in using Pages and Groups. He essentially said that Pages can be used as a general connection point for all your potential fans. Groups on the other hand can be used to provide a narrower focus – perhaps based around a specific topic or location.  Groups are for “narrowcasting”, Pages for “broadcasting”.

6) The key is that activity from your  Page shows up on each fan’s wall – exposing it to that fan’s network. And any activity an individual makes, such as posting on the wall of your organization’s page, will show up in their newsfeed, exposing your organization to that person’s social network.

7) The Causes application  within Facebook is very useful for non-profits. It also helps give members ownership of their involvement with the Hall of Fame which shows who your emissaries are – the top Recruiters, Donors and Fundraisers.

8) The ‘ladder of engagement’  is similar to the concept of a ‘sales funnel’ that is often discussed in online marketing. In both cases the idea is to gradually scale up the engagement with each user – don’t ask them for money right off the bat, but provide them with other ways to engage and participate before you ask for a donation.

9) Focus on the core relationships of your network, then build outwards through the networks of others.

**header image courtesy of Elvire-R

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