The Nonprofit Giver That Keeps on Giving- Part 2
April 21, 2016 Lynette Garet Fundraising 0 Comment
Social media, as mentioned in part one of this two part discussion, is an easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch with tech-savvy donors. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are obvious choices; also consider Reddit, Instagram, Digg and StumbleUpon—even BuzzFeed. Which social medium you choose depends on your message, to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan. In other words, use the format that enhances understanding of your programs and projects. Not only will you reach more potential donors, but also they will do most of the talking for you.
Use social media to:
- Build on existing goals
- Increase awareness in your cause
- Connect with new supporters
- Solicit online gifts
- Listen to your donors
- Monitor the competition using Google auto alerts and Twitter search
Set up a Fan Page, open a Twitter account
Facebook and Twitter, once the go-to media, now attract an older crowd who are more likely to have disposable income. Fan pages have tools to help broadcast your successes, conduct quick surveys and generate interest in your work and quite a lot of it is free to use.
Post short videos
YouTube and Instagram are ideal for short videos. Best of all you can recycle them on Facebook. Ask donors to make “selfies” to explain why they support you. Create short donor profiles to spotlight extraordinary donors or focus on your current campaign.
A note of caution: Carefully monitor whichever medium you use to ensure your community stays on message. It is quite common for someone with an issue to hijack the conversation.
Make it someone’s job
Ideally, your organization will have someone who is responsible for building those relationship platforms. Whether a full time development director or part time staffer that handles donor communications, make it someone’s job to keep in touch with your donors. Whoever it is, that person is the face of your nonprofit to most of your contributors.
Utilize your website
You undoubtedly spent plenty of time and money on your website—why not invite your donors to make it work for you.
- Create a community forum page
- Post a “Friends of” map that shows where your supporters are
- Set up a news archive, campaign calendar or blog page
- Provide progress reports on your programs, how much you have raised and what you’ve done with the money
- Add a donor profile page, using your donors’ stories in support of your campaign
Emails and e-newsletters
Love them or hate them, Barack Obama and the Democrats have a very sophisticated email campaign network. They have used it to stimulate interest, raise money and apply pressure for their agenda. You collected their email addresses when they registered online, remember? Don’t let it just sit and take up hard drive space—get in touch.
Small event hosts
Take a page from the political playbook; ask several donors to host simultaneous house parties. Staff provides the talking points; the hosts provide the wine and cheese. Chances are that by the end of the night, you will have new and motivated donors for a very small investment.
While a ball, banquet or night at the opera makes a big splash, each one takes plenty of teamwork, money and sponsorship. They have their purposes, but galas are usually for the well-heeled donors.
Make it about the donors with a donor appreciation night. Invite your donors to a meet-and-greet with key people in your organization. You can also use the occasion as an opportunity to celebrate achievements, bolster a flagging campaign or launch a new one.
Monthly donors will be thrilled to rub elbows with your executive director or donor development coordinator, who probably spends more time with high-asset donors. Once again, your nonprofit will send a vital message to the little guys: “You are important to us.” They will remember it and probably invest more time and money along the way.
Auctions, raffles and spaghetti feeds
These kinds of events are opportunities to get your donors to do the work. The American Cancer Society does it every year with “Relay for Life.” The original idea was one man walking for 24 hours. Now teams run, walk, auction off dinners-for-two, quilts and splashy prizes in an effort to raise the most money.
Make it newsworthy
Do remember the local television and radio stations, as well as the local paper. Ask for an interview on a local talk show; announce your achievements and goals; or send a letter to the editor championing your cause.
If you have a publicity wonk on staff, a good press release will endear your organization to the weary editor at your small weekly paper. Even if you don’t, take the time to find out:
- If they will use your stories and pictures
- If there is any interest in a regular column
- Policies and preferred format
The less work the newspaper staff has to do, the more likely it is that the newspaper will publish the story and that it will reflect your mission the way you want.
Take time with your donors
Nonprofits face constant funding challenges. Deep-pocket donors can and do make a difference everyday in charitable giving—but, like a hothouse rose, it takes a great deal of upfront effort to make it bloom. Small- and mid-level donors need recognition but seldom require individualized handholding; with a well-crafted template, mail merge and a real signatory they will feel you know them personally. For time spent on a Warren Buffet, monthly donors pay bigger dividends.