Social Media and how it Drives Fundraising and Philanthropy

The professors behind the online fundraising tool Give2Gether just released the results of research that provides 16 reasons why people give. Of those 16, at least 13 can be directly influenced by a smart social media strategy. How? Well, I’m glad I asked. The following list includes the reasons why people give according to the research followed by a few notes on how fundraisers, armed with this information, can use social media to encourage more donations. (Thanks to for the info)

Pivotal involvement – Everyone wants to think that their contribution was necessary and sufficient for the success of a fundraising campaign. <– Can you send your supporter a Twitter DM that thanks them with a link to dollars raised to-date? How about posting a list on Facebook that includes the tagged names of everyone who gave this week or month?

Being asked – It’s very simple, but people need to know that they’re personally invited to contribute. <– *AFTER* you’ve gained their trust via social media, there’s no harm in asking for their support. Emphasis on “AFTER you’ve gained their trust…”

Compassion – Seeing campaigns that need support can trigger an emotional response, especially if the donor feels attached to the recipients of a particular campaign. <– Nothing tugs at the heart strings like a well-produced YouTube video.

Transparency – Donors are more likely to give if they know exactly where their money is going and how much of it will get passed along to the cause. <– Be open and honest about what it is you do. This is a basic tenet of social media. Fortunately, in the nonprofit world, it should be an easy thing to do. (most NPOs aren’t torturing animals, polluting the environment, etc)

Urgency – When time is running out, individuals feel more pressure to give. <– Keep your followers up to speed on deadlines.

Recognition – Having a good deed made public can have an impact on how people view the donor in a positive way. <– Provide a Facebook badge for online donors to share the news about their gift with their followers. For major gifts, include the supporter in a YouTube campaign.

Simplicity – Campaigns that have clear and straightforward goals are easier to understand and support. <– …and are easy for your supporters to talk about with their friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, blogs…

Euphoria – Making a difference makes a supporter feel good because they know they did something worthwhile. <– See the previous comments on “Recognition”

Guaranteed success – Knowing that a goal will definitely be reached eliminates uncertainty and makes it easier to contribute. <– Use social media to distribute messages about what stage the campaign is in and the likelihood that the goal(s) will be reached and/or what it will take to reach the goal(s).

Campaigns in the news (Japan, Haiti) – Hearing about a specific fundraising campaign whenever a TV or radio is turned on, a newspaper is opened, or a website is loaded keeps the cause in the minds of potential donors. <– Keep your friends/followers/fans up to speed on what’s happening with your org via text (Facebook, Twitter, blogs), video (YouTube) and pictures (Flickr)

Peer pressure – People are compelled to be a part of what their friends are involved in. <– Encourage your supporters to ask their friends/followers/fans for donations

Celebrity endorsement – By contributing to campaigns that are championed by celebrities, donors feel like they’re more connected to their favorite stars because they’re supporting what they care about. <– Is a celebrity supporter of your cause willing to do a YouTube video?

Ability to influence others – A contribution from one person can result in untold contributions from their network. <– See comments on “Peer Pressure”. Whether it’s videos, pictures, fact sheets or media in any form, provide your supporters with the tools to effectively communicate your organization’s mission and message via social media.

One thought on “Social Media and how it Drives Fundraising and Philanthropy

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Posts from The Social Side of Giving in 2011 « The Social Side of Giving

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