Twenty years ago girl scouts would sell cookies door to door to raise money for a good cause. Nowadays ‘social fundraising’ seems to be the next best thing in fundraising when you take a look around the Internet. Doesn’t ring a bell when you hear the term social fundraising? Don’t worry, it’s becoming more and more popular every day so don’t stress out…yet!
What is social fundraising?
Some say that social fundraising means you’re using your social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, for achieving something meaningful. Others claim that it’s a combination of social networking and online fundraising. If we mix the different opinions you might come to the following conclusion: social fundraising enables groups of people to create online fundraising campaigns independent of non-profit organizations.
But how do they do that? It’s pretty simple actually. They use online middle platforms: platforms that provide a set of tools and/or a way of communicating with others in order to raise money for a good cause. Online platforms that enable people to realize projects for a better world are arising more and more. Nowadays consumers want to make a difference and they can do that by choosing how to spend their money. In short: consumers are more aware of their social responsibility than ever. That counts for companies as well. They’ve realized how important it is to act in a corporate social responsible (CSR) way and are embracing social media in order to achieve their CSR-goals.
Reports show that people are more likely to donate money if they know the person asking. So it’s of major importance to dive in the social networking space if you want to do any social fundraising at all. Nevertheless, involvement is the keyword in social fundraising. Without involvement you can skip the word ‘social’ in social fundraising. And the donations as well. If you want to reach a large group of people efficiently and you want them to take action it’s all about the message and engagement. Get them involved in the message, use social media to spread the message, and loads of people will be happy to tell their friends about the cause you’re raising money for. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But what works and what doesn’t?
Get your ‘act’ together
How do you get individuals and companies to act so that they will spread your message? Informing them isn’t the hardest part: you can reach large groups of people by giving them updates on projects by using your social media network in combination with a middle platform. Getting them enthusiastic for your cause is most important because then people will be more likely to act. Making sure that you pitch the right project to the right crowd (e.g.: a project about teenagers in India will probably appeal more to teenagers than to elderly because they can identify with them) is a good start if you want to get the crowd enthusiastic. Having an incentive (what’s in it for me?) might help to get people going as well. Overall, the success of your social fundraising campaign depends on the goal(s) you’ve set for yourself or your organization, your aimed target group and many other (internal and external) factors. So all I can say is: do your research adequately before you spread your message for a better world and goodluck!
Debra Schumacher – Marketing & Fundraising Officer bij HealthNet TPO
Achtergrond: Communicatie- en Informatiewetenschappen, International Business & Languages
Specialist op het gebied van Marketing, Communicatie & Fundraising