When creating and implementing your nonprofit online fundraising campaign, remember that getting people’s attention is much harder than it seems.
The trap nonprofits too often fall into is that they feel entitled to attention, and even donations, from their supporters and online community members.
Reality check: Just because you have a wonderful cause does not mean that people will understand what you do, or more importantly, that they will care.
It’s up to you to convey a compelling message to potential donors and current donors, one that will entice them to open their wallets and give in the moment.
Using the power and potential of social media in your online fundraising campaign is essential. People tend to listen to their peers and their friends, especially when seeking recommendations or checking out charitable causes.
If you provide your biggest supporters and ambassadors with social media resources that they can use to spread the word about your campaign, chances are that you will reap the benefits!
The key is to make it very easy, and to include all relevant information in one place.
The message and the ask need to be timely, relevant, and interesting. This is the most important thing, and where many (if not most) online fundraising campaigns fail.
Nonprofits tend to think that if they spend a lot of time and money on the right tools and platforms then the money will just roll in. Not so.
Do NOT think about Facebook Ads, hashtags, video marketing, or any other tactic before you solidify your message. The message must get people from passive to active.
One of the best ways to showcase the impact of your organization and the amazing work that you do is through storytelling. Tell the story of one person that had their life transformed by your nonprofit.
The reality is that online fundraising asks must be eye-catching, unique, and very compelling. Think about how you consume content online – with a ton of Google Chrome tabs open, playing Pandora or Spotify in the background, notifications on your phone buzzing, your email beeping with new messages.
Your ask needs to cut through this clutter and make a distinct impression on the donor – one that will not only get them to stop what they are doing and pay attention, but one that will get them to give.
What to Include In your Nonprofit Social Media Toolkit
Once you have a great story and message to share, you can then figure out the channels to use to spread the word.
Some crucial items to include in your Nonprofit Social Media Toolkit include:
- A short intro video summarizing how to use the Toolkit.
Never assume that your fans and followers understand how best to use social media, or even how to prioritize all the great information in the Toolkit. Take a 30 second-1 minute video with your smartphone to say thank you, and let them know how to use the Toolkit. For example: Why should they upload a video file directly into Facebook as opposed to posting a YouTube link? What are the dates of the campaign? Why is this campaign relevant and timely? What are the most important facts to share? Creating and posting an intro video for people who access your Toolkit will make SUCH a difference, and I guarantee it will set you apart from other organizations who simply put up a ton of information but don’t expressly share how to use it.
- Updated data and statistics on the problem you are solving.
Stories are the most important item to share because they play to human emotions and encourage us to get involved, but data and statistics on the problem are also good. Prove that you are solving a timely problem that would only get worse without your nonprofit. Show me what would happen if you closed your doors tomorrow. Demonstrate that you are answering a call and addressing a real need in the community.
- Video files that people can download and share.
Do not simply upload all of your videos to YouTube and share links from there. Each social media site is its own country, with its own etiquette, language, and culture. Uploading a video file directly into Facebook (also called native video) dramatically increases reach and engagement. Encourage supporters and ambassadors to directly upload the video file into their social media profiles, with attribution linking back to your organization.
- Testimonials and success stories from people who have been transformed by your work.
Storytelling works best when soliciting funds, online or offline. In an online fundraising campaign, one story should be the centerpiece of the entire campaign. However, it’s great to have more stories to share, either on your blog or somewhere on your website, for added social proof.
- List of relevant hashtags to include in social media posts.
Hashtags are useful ways to get your content found by more people interested in that same topic, but your supporters may not know which hashtags to use. Including a small list of suggested hashtags will save time and ensure that your online fundraising campaign content gets seen by more eyeballs.
- Approved photos for distribution (perhaps with your logo or watermark).
Visuals are everything on social media. Video works best, and photos are next in line – the king and queen of engaging social media content. Often, a wonderful photo is worth 1000 words. Include a variety of photos for your supporters to download and share so they don’t have to search around on your site, or go to Google Images and get pictures that they do not have permission to use.
- High resolution logos for your nonprofit.
- Blog post ideas and templates.
There may be members of your online community that want to blog about your nonprofit and your online fundraising campaign, but they don’t know where to start. Give them as many ideas as possible for potential blog posts to help jumpstart their creativity.
- Graphics to use on social media (profile images, cover photos).
Create some inspiring quotes or other graphics that can be shared on social media. Use apps like Canva or WordSwag for easy creation and social media optimization.
- Sample outreach email that people can cut, paste, and personalize.
Personalized emails always work best, but if your supporters are short on time, provide them with a short and to the point email about your online fundraising campaign and why it’s important. Encourage people to include their own voice and language in the email.
- FAQs about your organization.
Which questions do you always get, no matter how much information seems to be on your website? Limit the FAQ to no more than 5 bullet points. Be sure to address myths and misconceptions that go along with your cause or your organization, as well as stereotypes about the population that you serve, and why it is important to support your nonprofit right now.
- Sample pre-written tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn posts, etc. that people can cut and paste.
Write the tweets out ahead of time to ensure that they don’t exceed the character limit and that all relevant accounts are tagged properly. Same goes with Facebook and LinkedIn posts, and any other type of content you want people to just grab, cut, and paste onto their social accounts. The easier that you can make this process, the better!
- Social Media tip sheet for newbies.
Some of your ambassadors and supporters may never have shared information like this on their social media accounts before, and they may need a little bit a primer. I suggest sharing your own internal and external social media policies with them, and providing them with a lot of encouragement. Always explain the rationale behind the Social Media Toolkit and share some examples of how social media can be used to really drive engagement and donations for nonprofits.
Great examples of nonprofit Social Media Toolkits:
- Right from the Start in the Digital Age https://rightfromthestart.co/social-media-tool-kit/
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk http://www.lightthenight.org/ways/light-the-night-walk/social-media-toolkit
- #GivingTuesday https://www.givingtuesday.org/sites/default/files/2016-07/Social%20Media%20Toolkit.pdf
- MercyCorps https://www.mercycorps.org/fundraising/ideas-tips-tools#digitalmaterials
- Stand Up To Bullying http://www.standuptobullying.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/SUTB-Social-Media-Toolkit.pdf
- National Eating Disorders Association https://www.nedawalk.org/social-media-toolkit
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