Welcome to the social revolution. The world is catapulting towards more connectedness, more interactivity and more community. Change is occurring at exponential speeds we can barely keep pace with. Life it or not, “social”–the instant sharing of content using online technologies— is the new norm, and social media and social technology are the platforms and tools we must embrace if we are to thrive in this new reality.
~Wealth Engine white paper 2012*
Our social networks are expansive, growing wider in scope and density with each click of the mouse and touch of the keyboard. We routinely search the Internet for anything we want to learn more about or find. We can do this on our desk top computer, laptop, or smart phone, from just about anywhere in the world where there is a signal. Most people visit an organization’s website before they ever enter the door or attend an event or meeting. Increasingly, donors are comfortable giving online and expect to have that option available for their charitable giving.
Social networks are a dynamic means of communication and being virtually connected with people around the world. Popular social networks and media include Facebook,Twitter, blogs and microblogs, content curation, geolocation, online communities, and media sharing. Technological developments are happening quickly, and nonprofit, religious and charitable organizations must be alert to the new trends if they want to be perceived as current and relevant. For example, it is more important than ever for organizations to invest in making their website content adaptable for mobile technology.
Many nonprofit, religious, and charitable organizations have joined the movement, finding the new social media options easy and inexpensive to set up and use for communicating with their existing and prospective constituents. Most social media offer tools for measuring Myriad opportunities and benefits are present for organization actively using social media for networking:
Information sharing—education & training
- Fundraising–donor prospect research & online giving
- Opinion gathering & research
- Brand marketing & publicity
- Employment search
- Advocacy & leadership
- Community building & event participation
As good as social networking sounds, it is vital that the organization begin at a manageable level for the staff or volunteers involved. The development of the networks can be tracked with the specialized features that measure and track activity. Communicating and networking via social media takes time, forethought, and planning for the organization to maximize the benefits. It is worthwhile for leaders to discuss the use of social media, seeking input from other staff, volunteers, and constituents. There must be commitment on the part of organizational leaders. Policies for engaging and training staff to effectively use social media to advance the organization and advance its mission in the world.
Social networking offers an expansive and exciting landscape of opportunity. Most professional fundraisers report using Facebook, Linked In, and other social networking venues to learn more about donors and their charitable and political giving patterns. Online surveys provide a means for interacting and inviting valuable feedback. Tracking social networking sites enables organizations to observe behaviors and trends in new and different ways.
Crowd-sourcing and Cause-related Marketing are becoming increasingly popular and are a creative means of promoting individual causes and advancing the missions of organizations. Millions of dollars are raised each year through social media and online giving, whether it be through project funding, online contests, or auctions.
The possibilities are seemingly endless!
Online Fundraising Venues:
Ammado Foundation offers a means for giving to causes internationally. https://www.ammado.com/
CrowdRise is a free fundraising site that encourages its users to create a fundraiser, publicize it, and have fun in the process. http://www.crowdrise.com/
HopeMob’s vision is to “become the largest, most active, effective, innovative community of generosity in the world.” http://hopemob.org/
Network for Good envisions a “world where generosity is unleashed, with compelling opportunities to give back at every person’s fingertips.” The site offers organizations and individuals opportunities to give to charitable causes from its website and a wide array of partner sites. http://www1.networkforgood.org/
Research and Information about Online Giving:
About.com. Cause-Related Marketing: What You Need to Know. http://nonprofit.about.com/od/fundraising/a/causemarketing.htm
Charity Navigator. Top 10 Best Practices of Savvy Donors. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=419
*Wealth Engine. Trends in Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations white paper. 2012. Fundraising’s Social Revolution: How Social Media is Changing Nonprofit Culture and Practice. http://info.wealthengine.com/fundraising-social-revolution.html