Social media for fundraising!

Social media is a critical tool for building connections with new and existing donors. But where to start, and what platforms to use?

The digital age has provided an indispensable tool for PBOs, non-profits, associations, trusts and charity organisations to promote and engage with a wide audience of potential donors and raise awareness for their causes. With multiple social media options available, choosing the best fit for your promotional efforts is vital. 

To make an informed decision, consider who the target audience is, what the content strategy will be, what the organisation’s goals are, and lastly the resources available. 

Goals and your audience

Think about what it is your organisation wants to achieve via social media. For example, is the aim to promote an event, educate, engage with your audience, raise awareness and funds or a combination of these goals? In identifying the PBO's goals, it will be easier to align with the most suitable platforms. 

Considering your target audience, look at demographics such as age, gender, interests and location. By doing so, it will be easier to identify which platforms’ user base will best cater to your target audience. For example, a young audience is best engaged on TikTok or Instagram, while a more mature audience will be on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook.

Choosing your platform(s)

Some of the major social media platforms are:

  1. Facebook

    This is still the largest social media platform with a high number of daily, active users offering organisations a massive, targeted reach for business with reasonable advertising rates. It is also the platform of choice to share longer-form content and event updates. Facebook has fundraising tools and groups that can be leveraged to garner community engagement.
  1. LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is the platform to use when seeking professional connections, particular skills, or partnerships. 
  1. X, formerly known as Twitter

    While no longer subject to a strict character count limit, X is still best suited for concise messages. Additionally, it’s the go-to platform when wanting to send out timely updates or engage in real-time chats.
  1. TikTok

    Creative, youth-oriented charity work would be best suited to the TikTok platform, using short, engaging videos. 
  1. Instagram

    If your messaging is most effective through the telling of stories using visuals, be it with impactful images or short videos aimed at a younger audience, Instagram would be the platform of choice. 

Content: the strategy 

No matter the platform decided on, the content strategy must be such that it utilises the strength of said platform as well as your organisation’s mission. Keep in mind that your content needs to be engaging, informative, visually appealing and impactful to elicit an emotional connection and inspire action. 

Introduce relevant hashtags (#) in the various posts. Hashtags are used to make posts available in conversations or start a conversation with a similar topic, raise awareness for your cause or even build your organisation’s brand. They are especially useful on platforms with limited characters. 

Standard messaging has its place on all platforms, but when it comes to direct interaction with a donor or a sponsor, take the time to personalise the message. Donors and sponsors want to know that what they have done or do in the future will make a difference and be appreciated.  

Contests and giveaways are a great way to generate excitement around fundraising and give exposure to your sponsors if they donate prizes. Make sure the rules are clear and easy to understand and that your prizes are what your donors would be excited about. 

Interaction and relationships with donors

Promptly respond to comments, emails, messages and mentions to build relationships and trust with your donors. Remember to thank your donors for their support. Using platforms with engagement-friendly tools such as live video streaming (Instagram), or interactive polls can enhance the experience for donors. 

Performance Tracking and Analytics

To know which platform has performed best for your content strategy be sure to make use of the analytical tools offered. This will give you insight into what is working (and what is not) to allow tweaking or complete realignment of the content strategy. The analytics may even reveal that a multi-channel approach may be necessary to reach your target audience. This will mean adjusting your content to the strengths of each platform but will ensure greater exposure for your message. 

Being successful on any social media requires dedication and effort. Keep an open mind to the arrival of new platforms, unpack and apply the learnings provided from the analytics and remain consistent in your messaging. The ultimate goal is to inspire action, generate engagement and make a difference.  

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