Traditionally, non-profit organizations relied on the trusty old email list to get the word out to their potential donors and appeal for donations. But that’s changing. Why stick to a simple email which can easily be deleted before it’s even opened, when you’ve got the engaging, interesting, and exciting social media platforms with which to spread your message.
With the world of social media you can build a community, engage with that community, tell your story, reach further and wider to new supporters, and ultimately drive greater participation and those all-important donations. And it’s free. Email is like whispering a message into someone’s ear, social media is like shouting into a microphone.
So how do we make sure that our social media marketing is making the greatest impact for the least amount of work? It’s simple. Adhere to the rule of the Three A’s: one third of your content should be Appreciation, one third Advocacy, and one third Appeals…
You know how nice it feels to be recognized for doing a good deed? Your donors feel that too. Give your donors some warm fuzzies by giving them a shout out on social media. Not only is this just a nice thing to do, but it’s a great way to drive engagement. The people that you highlight are likely to retweet or repost, their friends and family are likely to like, comment and share, and your name will reach plenty of new supporters.
By showing appreciation to your donors, you’re increasing the chances of converting one-off donors into long-term donors. People like having their philanthropy recognized publicly, and that good feeling they get from your public thanks is going to encourage them to donate again. Start a “donor of day or “Thursday Thank You” routine to regularly spotlight donors.
It’s a good look, giving thanks to the people that help your organization run. A simple shout out to your volunteers, employees and donors is a great way to generate a positive image of your organization.
Here’s the third of your social media posts where you get to champion your cause. Advocacy is all about raising awareness, educating, and explaining your mission, without the focus of fundraising.
Share blog posts, podcasts, videos, images and articles about your work to generate conversation and build awareness. Fostering engagement is key. Try to frame your posts as a question. Questions, particularly those starting with “would” or “should”, are proven to result in far more engagement. Makes sense, right? People are going to answer your question!
Engage with other organizations, people, and businesses who are aligned with your mission. It’s a good idea to use most of this third of your social media space to share outside content rather than your own. Tweet about new research, or post articles which support your cause. This is a prime way to foster brand awareness and reach new supporters.
Finally, we get to the third where you’re allowed to ask for what it is that you really, really want: donations. It’s important not to flood your social media with constant direct appeals for donations – it’ll just serve to annoy followers and ultimately lose them. This is why it is only allowed to take up one third, and even in that third you should frame your appeals posts wisely.
Make your posts specific, rather than just a general cry for help. An appeal which says “$30 can provide clean drinking water to a whole village for a month” will do much better than “donate today”, as people like to know where their money is going. Images of your beneficiaries or the realization of your work are a great way to tug at the heart strings on potential donors. Posts with images are proven to generate far greater engagement than those without. So pop a picture of a smiling village with a water filter on your appeals for donations.
Provide links to your website in all of your appeals posts. If people can click on a link and donate immediately, they’re more likely to do it. We’re bombarded with so much information online, you need to capitalize on that fleeting moment when you’ve captured someone’s attention. With no link to donate where they can do so right that instant, people will think “that’s a good idea, I’ll do that later” and then be distracted by a cat video and entirely forget to donate later. Text to donate options are just as good. Millennials especially like the quickest and simplest pathway to donate.
Adhere to the Three A’s of social media marketing for non-profit organizations and you’re well on your way to social media success. Remember, it’s not all about soliciting donations. Create a community, generate engagement, show appreciation, and the donations will come naturally.