Social media has completely revolutionized the ways businesses, organizations, and churches communicate and operate. This tool has allowed us to reach far more people than we ever could through our brick and mortar buildings, mailing address lists, and phone number logs.
Social media is freely available to everyone with an Internet connection which means the potential reach we have online is truly endless! While e-commerce has risen in popularity over the past few years, social media has also opened the door for nonprofit organizations and online charitable giving.
It’s great timing: our current culture is the most philanthropic we have ever been!
Generations across the board have a high percentage of volunteerism and charitable giving.
84% of Millennials, 72% of Baby Boomers, and 88% of the Greatest Generation give to charitable organizations. Generation Z is predicted to be highly philanthropic as well. Although many are too young to give yet, 36% of them have already given their own money to charity.
The good news?
People still want to give to nonprofits! People honor the work of charitable organizations and put their money where their mouths are more often than we may think.
So how do social media and the web come into play with charitable giving?
Social media is another outlet through which we can expand our reach and meet our goals of expressing the need of our organization, encouraging volunteerism, and especially generating donations. Any public relations representative who works within a nonprofit will tell you the massive amount of work that goes into generating donations!
Social media can truly make the efforts of nonprofits so much easier. It helps us to share information about our nonprofits, promote giving events and volunteer opportunities, and generate a greater amount of donations.
We want to give you a few tips and tricks on how to make your nonprofit a success and bring your giving through the roof!
Just a note for you to keep in mind: increasing giving isn’t only done by directly asking people for money!
There are many other indirect ways in which you can prompt people to donate. These all center around establishing relationships, being relatable, and being transparent with potential donors. You will find that social media can enhance your ability to be present and impactful as a nonprofit!
1. Tell your story
It may sound cliche, but your story matters!
Your nonprofit does not just exist for the sake of existing; there is a beautiful story behind its origins that is centered around doing good.
People give when they truly believe in a mission and often support organizations that share their values and do good work in the world. If they have no emotional tie to your mission, they may not be as compelled to give.
The best way you can establish that necessary connection to your potential donor is through sharing your story.
Through social media and your website, you can so many opportunities to get creative in how you share your story! You want to start by having a well-written “about” page on your website that goes in-depth in your story. Share the origins of your nonprofit or church, some major milestones, and where you are headed.
Through social media, you can share different snippets of your story through quotes, videos, and so much more. You can get creative with how you choose to share your story, but the main goal would be to share your vision, give your followers a better idea of why your organization matters, and invite them to join your story.
2. Be transparent about your finances
This is probably the most important thing nonprofits can do if they want to establish trust and maintain a respectable reputation. There have been nonprofit organizations in former times who, upon investigation, were revealed to have been irresponsible with their finances.
If you were a donor and found out that an organization you supported financially was using your money for something contrary to the vision, you would probably be pretty upset. Nonprofits have a responsibility to be, well, responsible!
And if you give money to a non-profit or church, you want to know where that money is going! Did your $10 donation buy a meal for a hungry child? Did your gift buy warm coats for the homeless in your community?
Being transparent about your finances, and showing donors where they’re making an impact, inspires others to join the cause.
3. Get Personal
Telling your origin story is a great way to get personal with your donors and give them a glimpse at your personality as an organization. Continuing this same dialogue is a great way to continue developing relationships and building trust among your donors.
Again, there are so many different ways for you to get personal with your audience! One of the most impactful ways you can get personal, especially on social media, is by sharing video testimonies. These testimonies can be as simple as your organization's founder or church’s pastor sharing a bit about the mission, current events/initiatives, or other happenings in the organization.
You can also utilize blogs, consistent posts or Tweets, and personal interactions through DMs and replying to comments.
The key here is to have your personality shine through all that you do! Don’t just opt for automatic responses and impersonal communication. Take the time to interact with your audience authentically
4. Highlight donor events
Hosting a donor event is one of the greatest ways for nonprofits, and even churches can hit about 10 birds with one stone! At these events, you can share the mission and vision of your organization, develop relationships with past and potential donors, and also bring in financial support. These events can even serve to simply show appreciation for those who have contributed financially and through volunteerism.
Donor events have a few cons, such as the initial cost and event planning, but they often have a high return on investment. Overall, these events can tip the needle to financial abundance for a nonprofit organization.
You can utilize social media to spread the word about your donor event to those beyond your existing mailing list. Encouraging nonprofit volunteers to share the event, invite people to pledge, and even join the event virtually can result in high success for the donor event itself. Speaking of virtual, you should consider live-streaming your event for those who are prevented from attending it in person.
A quick tip: investing in Facebook or Google advertising leading up to the event can help to generate more participation as well.
5. Utilize crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is the simple practice of raising a small amount of money from many people towards a project or goal. Crowdfunding is a wonderful way to allow your donors to directly contribute to a special project or cause within your organization.
The idea behind crowdfunding is that when a lot of people participate, it is much easier to reach a certain goal. Think of crowdfunding as an “it takes a village” methodology. It would be incredible for every single person to have the capacity to give thousands of dollars to every charitable cause out there, but that just isn’t a reality. We can, however, give up just the cost of a cup of coffee to give instead to charity.
Crowdfunding has the potential to get a lot of traction on social media platforms, especially Facebook. It is as simple as sharing the link to a crowdfunding page, such as GoFundMe or MightyCause, to your profile. This helps to start the conversation and get the page out to as many people as possible.
Another benefit to crowdfunding is it allows your organization to share your message, mission, and progress with those who choose to support it. It also can open the door to new donor streams, which means people who have never even heard of your organization before may get hooked and become a long-term donor.
6. Be mindful about the timing
Social media has made it possible for nonprofits, churches, and charitable organizations alike to be able to share their mission and giving initiatives with just about anyone. While donations pour in throughout the year, it is wise for us to be mindful of the slower and more popular donation seasons.
Overall, organizations tend to experience a bit of a halt in income right after the holiday season ends. This is probably because people just spent all of their money during the holidays, or they are just trying to be more mindful of their spending.
For nonprofits, this slow down in giving at the beginning of the year may be because the peak time for giving is during the end of the year. In fact, 30% of annual giving occurs in December!
There is some strategy involved when it comes to timing and encouraging giving from donors. November December are the months you want to ramp up your advertising, share your crowdfunding campaigns, and reach out to potential and existing donors.
GivingTuesday is another day you need to hone in one to see your donations ramp up. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. This day is simply one day of the calendar year where people are encouraged to do good and be generous
This day is incredibly important for nonprofit organizations to focus on because it is a day where millions of people are willing to contribute financially. GivingTuesday happens the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and kicks off the most philanthropic month of the year.
What can you do for GivingTuesday? Launching an end of the year social media campaign that leads up to this day is the perfect way to get your donors involved. This campaign could involve inviting people to pledge donation amounts, holding a giveaway, or adding other incentives for your followers to share the campaign.
A quick statistic to keep in mind is that 63% of Giving Tuesday donors give only on Giving Tuesday. This means that this day could facilitate long-term donor commitments amount people who typically only give once a year.
Now it's your turn
The question now is, which of these ideas will you try first?
The internet and social media have dramatically broadened the horizons of communicating with donors and encouraging them to give financial support. It gives us the ground to tell our story and partner with others who believe in the mission.
How will you use your website and social media to develop relationships with your donors and see your generosity increase?