Ideas in Practice
The times when traditional marketing was ruling the game feel long gone. Since we’re already in 2017, this time might be great for your organization to work on your annual goals.
When companies kick off their infamous Q1 strategy, most often all start off with the usual — budgets, funding, donors, followers, etc. Overall, funding, fundraising and seeking investors have always been and will most likely always be among the top challenges of all companies — both profit and not-for-profit. In recent years, organizations have been seeking creative ways to engage with potential donors and people who are open to talking about the magical word- “money.”
Over the past few years, many marketers started specializing in the new way of fundraising for NGO’s and shifted all fundraising to online. It has been interesting to monitor the trends in non-profit money collection as the field faces larger challenges than corporations (unless of course you’re a large nonprofit with a large donors base that has large pockets). While most quick tips and tricks seem like they could work, the long-term strategy on donor collection and retention is lacking in most articles I’ve ran across.
Social Media 101 — Where your NGO must be present
Before we get into the deeds of fundraising and donor collection, let’s get it straight — there are monetary opportunities online but you have to know where and how to get to them. There are multiple platforms out now and each seems shinier and cooler than the previous one. Follow the rule of thumb that size matters and the size of the users on large popular networks also matter. If you’re looking for the most exposure, you want to keep you online presence to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Additionally, depending on your resources for imagery and video you should seriously consider YouTube and Instagram. Please note that the above will vary on the target group you have and you should base it by the age range of your donors and target sponsors. Also — don’t be that NGO that gets on all 5 platforms and posts once in a blue moon on half of them. Either invest the resources for all OR pace yourself before joining and promoting all platforms.!
Use your donors to get more donors!
If you already go donors, that is an awesome start. Current donor engagement is quite important, especially if you’re looking to build a long-lasting relationship with your donor book. While special events in person and the occasional phone call from your NGO is great, encouraging donors to be active online will attract new donors!
Ideas on how to use your current sponsor base online:
· Feature them regularly online — having people featured is the easiest way to increase your visibility. People always feel flattered when the good deeds they do are shared online and they will without a doubt share your post if you featured them. Be creative and include some pictures, videos and gifs too!
· Shed light on the current updates from your NGO on Social Media vs. email and encourage your donors to read the updates there. Sending emails is outdated these days for multiple reasons such as emailing tracking and follow-up actions are limited. If you have the resources, do short video updates featuring your team and donors, along with footage from events, gatherings, etc. Make sure to include all hyperlinks to the video / photos along with the post so you can further track views from the platform of upload.
Call to Action
There is no point in sharing something for the purpose of mentioning it, without encouraging your followers to do something — provoke a comment, a reaction, a share; ask them to spread your message. This will help you with:
· An increased exposure online — if multiple people share your post, multiple new potential donors will see it.
· The comments that they share underneath your post are visible to people who are not fans of your page. For example if a follower of yours comments on your post, their connections will be notified and may see your page as well and become engaged with your organization.
· The passion of your followers, the multiple comments and clicks will attract more people who are considering your organization. Pure psychology.
· The comments underneath posts can be gathered and help with profiling your donors. If you’re thinking long-term donor building, you will also be considering social media intelligence at some point. Gather comments now so you have more to work with when you decide to take it to the next step.
Get granular detail of potential donors
The creepy part of social media is that you don’t know what companies are collecting about you. A very good example of that is when you’re at an event and asked to hashtag your presence with the specialized keywords. You may think you’re just posting a picture online, but once you’ve mentioned where you’re at either by geo-tagging yourself at the venue or adding the hashtag below your cute pic, you’re just being added to the special list of potential donors / fans/ followers/ buyers, etc.
Work with your special events department and on the next event add a hashtag. At the event, encourage people to use it, have posters up with it, stickers and have it on the ticket too. Once the event is over, search for the hashtag on the platforms you encouraged people to use and collect the base of people who posted using the hashtag (or geo tag at the venue). Create the database and reach out to each person from it. Thank them for coming and ask them for some time to chat with you over the phone or via email — engage with them online and follow them on their social media. If they first don’t warm up to you, they will if you are a vivid follower of their content. Flatter them online and in person for being an active NGO supporter and do your best to engage them.
Keep your list of potential donors close and do quarterly rounds of follow-ups if you don’t engage them from Day 1.
Twitter for Proactive Donor Search
One cannot omit Twitter, when it comes to proactive research of donors.
There are two ways to do a donor search on the platform — (1) with money or (2) without money.
The first option is buying a license from a social media intelligence vendor to their version of a Twitter bio scrape. You can easily consult with any vendor about it; pricing varies. Some vendors would be open to giving you a discount as an NGO, so try that route if you have some resources available for marketing.
The second (and free) option is obviously more time consuming, but effective. Navigating the online trail of anyone is pretty easy — start off with a list of the top 10 competitors you have.
· Collect their Twitter info — what they’ve posted, how often, who they’ve engaged with.
· Create a sheet with their handles and a description to each one of them
· Go to the “search” function of twitter.com
· Type in one Twitter handle at a time
· Examine their presence on Twitter — what they’ve posted, how often, who they’ve engaged with.
· Go back to your sheet and write down the pattern of posts they’ve had over the past 30–90 days
· Find the users who have continuously engaged with the organization for the same period you evaluated further up
· Add the handles of the users to your worksheet
· Find their social media information by simply googling them (Facebook presence, Instagram, email, etc.)
· Prepare a your initiative to reach out to those users
· Drop them a note J
No matter how much money you’re looking to spend or save on your marketing, it’s important to create a structured game plan on your online fundraising strategy. Happy fundraising!
*While the above suggestions and recommendations apply globally, the knowledge of the NGO world I’ve gathered is limited to the United States and Bulgaria. If you’re in a relatively undeveloped market, you should consider working with professionals aware of the market and opportunities.