The digital world has played a large role in altering the path of the donor’s journey. Today, the donor’s journey naturally progresses online. Prospective donors are in a constant state of search, looking for organizations that align with their passions and desire to do good in the world.Because of this shift, it is more important than ever for your organization to consider the best ways to leverage social media for nonprofits. With the right approach, social media holds the key to connecting with both current and prospective donors.
By now, nearly every nonprofit is on social media, but it’s not just a matter of creating a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Social media is a vital part of attracting and retaining current and prospective donors. Understanding the right way to leverage these tools and platforms can have a tremendous impact on your organization’s mission.
Social media for nonprofits used to mean merely having a presence to keep supporters up-to-date on the work they’re doing in the community. But social media is a powerful tool for building relationships with donors.
Here are four ways thoughtfully using social media can engage and mobilize your supporters.
1. Building Thought Leadership
Today, building thought leadership online is crucial to successfully connecting with donors throughout each stage of their journey. Before the rise of social media, building thought leadership looked more like a New York Times best-seller and a speaking engagement at TED. But social media has made building thought leadership incredibly simple for even the most resource and time-constrained organizations.
Content is the vehicle for driving a connection between your organization and its current and prospective donors. Blogs, eBooks and infographics bring your organization’s mission, impact and high-level thinking to life. Creating this fresh, relevant and meaningful content — and sharing it on your organization’s social channels — will create an emotionally compelling need for others to engage with your organization and position it as an expert in the work it’s doing.
Having a sharing strategy in place that involves the internal members of your organization can amplify your efforts and help spread your valuable content to mass audiences. When prospective donors embark on their journey, this content will help your organization will stand out amongst a crowded field of organizations with similar missions.
2. Driving Two-Way Communications With Donors
The traditional landscape of philanthropy is changing. With the next generation of philanthropists searching for opportunities to give back to organizations that connect to their passions, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your organization connects deeply with donors. The digital age has altered how we connect with others. We’re digitally-wired, glued to our phones and computers — making the Internet our go-to gathering place. Social media is a connection machine, creating a hyperconnected society where we’re able to connect with others across the world based on our shared interests and beliefs.
Social media platforms are driven by two-way communications, providing an opportunity for your organization to be virtually face-to-face with its current and prospective donors. With this opportunity, your organization can hear from and speak directly with donors. Instead of simply using social media for fundraising asks and impact updates, use these powerful platforms to ignite conversation. Communicating with — not just to — these individuals will give you a better understanding of who they are, their passions and how they’d like to get involved and stay engaged with your mission.
3. Showcasing Your Impact
Telling stories that amplify your organization’s impact is crucial to maintaining support for its work. Your organization has so many inspiring stories demonstrating its impact that have the potential to connect one-on-one with your unique audience. It’s likely your organization is already sharing stories of its impact through mediums such as blogs, newsletters and annual impact reports. But using social media to share these stories can greatly expand your organization’s reach and ability to attract and retain supporters from across the world.
Social media platforms can serve as a catalyst for the stories you tell, amplifying each one through the use of digital and visual elements. Through the use of curated graphics, images and videos, your organization will be able to communicate its work and impact to supporters in a more compelling way. These quick, visual updates can make all the difference to the individuals supporting your cause. Using your social channels is meeting your donors where they are, and routinely updating them will make them feel like true partners in your mission to create positive change.
4. Advancing Peer-to-Peer Giving
Social media platforms are continuously evolving — updating tools and features to accommodate various audiences. In addition, the rise of a more socially-conscious society has brought giving to the forefront of corporate and for-profit interests.
In recent years, social networking platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have added features and tools to maximize giving potential and peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities for nonprofits. Registered nonprofits on Facebook can now include “donate” buttons right on their profile page, as well as live videos. The social platform also allows and prompts users to create peer-to-peer driven fundraisers on an organization’s behalf. On Instagram, users interested in peer-to-peer fundraising can now include a “donate” sticker on Instagram’s “stories” feature.
Generating a following on social media and properly connecting with donors on these platforms can inspire them to promote your organization’s mission among their own followers, driving peer-to-peer fundraising efforts on your nonprofit’s behalf.
Driving Connections With Donor Personas
Social media offers organizations the ability to amplify the message of their cause. In addition, these platforms harness the power to connect with individuals across the world whose passions align with your mission. Using social media correctly can make your social-good brand stand out and help foster great relationships with donors in the process.
Your organization’s presence and activity on social media is paramount to driving connections with donors, but successfully attracting them requires a better understanding of who they are. Identifying their characteristics, passions and motivations to give back will help your organization craft personalized, meaningful content that propels them into action. There are many nuanced steps that help you understand your donors, like developing research-driven donor personas.
Personas are the beacon, the guiding light, for effectively reaching and connecting with your target audiences. Thorough donor personas give your organization the blueprint to strategically develop branding and messaging while effectively reaching the audience it seeks to connect with. With empathetic research, your organization can develop donor personas that are guaranteed to guide the creation of stronger connections with its supporters.
If you’re ready to take your donor development and retention efforts to new heights, read our blog about crafting detailed donor personas here.