September 12, 2011

What social fundraising means for your nonprofit

A look at the growing phenomenon of social media fundraising

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, fundraising executives, social media managers, donors.

This article is part of our series on social fundraising.

Debra AskanaseI’ve been looking forward to the promise of “social media+fundraising” for a while now. There are plenty of fundraising solutions that leverage social media, relying on fundraisers to tweet, share, and post their fundraising pages to their social networks. There are also fundraising solutions that fully rely on and live within a social platform, such as a Facebook fundraising application or a fundraising widget you place on your blog. Then there is the newest evolution: fundraising that innately uses social media as a platform.

In the slide presentation above, I review the three categories of social media fundraising and my thoughts about how social media fundraising has finally arrived in a real way.

Sharing is huge

A report from Share This states that sharing generates more than 10% of all internet traffic. In order of frequency, most people click on links shared within Facebook, followed by “other” (blogs, social bookmarking, etc.), email, and Twitter. Facebook is the largest sharing channel, at 38%, which is why so many online fundraising pages are shared and shared again on Facebook.

sharing stats

Social fundraising is growing

By all definitions, online fundraising is growing. Social fundraising is also growing. Network for Good’s online giving study’s quarterly giving index illustrates that, despite the current poor economic outlook, social giving is still rising. In Q1 and Q2 of 2011, social giving increased (though Q1 giving may have been skewed by Japan tsunami relief fundraising). The 2011 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report of US nonprofit social media fundraising reports that Facebook is the social media platform most nonprofits are using if they are participating in social media fundraising, though it is still a very small percentage who have raised significant money using Facebook.

Online giving growth

Social sharing of fundraising pages yields results: Social media fundraising that leverages social networks

When fundraisers share their fundraising pages to their social networks, giving increases. Blackbaud recently issued a report and created an infographic about the power of peer-to-peer sharing. Blackbaud found that Twitter and Facebook posts convert 0.25% of impressions into donations. It also found that Twitter users increased donations nearly 10x more than those who did not use Twitter. FirstGiving found that for every share to Facebook, 5 people returned to a fundraising page. FirstGiving also found that the value of a share to Facebook was worth $10.87 in donations.

Peer to peer online donation solutions (such as FirstGiving, Razoo, Crowdrise, Donors Choose) where a fundraiser creates a fundraising page and shares that page are increasingly being used by nonprofit organizations, and the culture of online donations is growing. Sometimes these solutions are also called social media fundraising, because they rely so heavily on social media for amplification. These solutions are ideal for leveraging an organization’s base, and increasing donations through personal social network sharing. However, it’s just as important that the nonprofit also have a vibrant social media presence to amplify these efforts and engage with fundraisers.

Giving that relies on or lives exclusively within a social network

Social media fundraising can also be defined as fundraising that happens within a social network, rather than shared to the network. Most examples of these fundraising solutions live within Facebook. Examples include Causes, the What Gives or FirstGiving fundraising tabs that you can add to a Facebook page or profile, fundraising applications developed for a Facebook Page. These fundraising solutions rely on Facebook to thrive: You have to connect using Facebook, and they count on fundraisers sharing with their Facebook friends for amplification. Other examples include Google Checkout for nonprofits on YouTube or fundraising widgets placed on a blog. This type of fundraising is growing, but certainly is not mainstream, and best used where you have a fair number of supporters and know you can energize them. Continue reading

September 9, 2011

Helping nonprofits master the art of grant writing

Foundation Center offers a deep resource for philanthropy

JD LasicaIt seems that many of the 1.5 million nonprofits in the land still have not heard of the Foundation Center. And that’s too bad, because the venerable nonprofit organization, which has been around for more than 50 years, offers a wealth of information about U.S. philanthropy and helps people learn how to apply for grants through a rich foundation database.

Best of all, it’s free — just like a public library.

Recently I gave a well-attended talk at the Foundation Center San Francisco about how nonprofits can make strategic use of social media. Afterward, I sat down for a 6-minute interview with training coordinator Sarah Jo Neubauer, who detailed the Foundation Center’s offerings.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

At Foundation Centers in New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Cleveland and San Francisco, you can find out how to write a grant proposal to any of the 92,000 profiled foundations. If you’re a student, you can learn how and where to apply for financial aid. You can also find out how to develop a fundraising plan, how to approach a foundation, how to seek corporate sponsorship and more. Continue reading

September 8, 2011

How to create a successful multi-author blog

Photo by J.D. Lasica

Nonprofits benefit from diversity of voices & points of view

John HaydonOne of the biggest questions that nonprofits have when starting a blog is, “How can one person possibly continue to publish interesting articles?”

The answer is: You don’t. And this is precisely the reason why many nonprofits such as Oceana and the National Wildlife Federation have multi-author blogs. A second great reason to have multiple authors on a blog is that you get a wider variety of opinions and ideas that your readers will love.

But how do you effectively manage a multi-author blog?

Tips for managing a blog with multiple authors

1Create unity with shared goals and guidelines. The most important factor in creating a successful multi-author blog is to establish a very clear goal. You need to be clear about what your blog’s message is, what you want readers to do once they read a blog post, and what the mission of the blog is. The more specific and inspirational your goal, the better.

2Create author guidelines. Authors should be clear about the keywords you want to be targeting, word length and format of the blog. An example of the guideline would be: “Posts should be no more than 300 words. Each paragraph should have no more than two or three sentences. An image should appear at the top of the blog post. Posts should end with a question.”

3Assign one editor. You want to assign one person to be the editor of the blog. The editor should have editing rights to all blog posts, and should have the ability to publish all blog posts. The editor is also in charge of the blog calendar, and reporting back to all authors on results (post views, back links and other stats).

4Allow appropriate access. You want to use a blogging platform that allows for various levels of user rights. In WordPress, for example, there are5 different roles from administrator all the way down to subscriber. Authors should be set up as either Contributors or Authors. The editor should be set up as either editor or administrator, depending upon whether the editor is also the blog administrator. These various user roles help create unity among all authors and prevents someone from breaking the blog.

5Stay organized with a calendar. Each author should be assigned the same time every week for publication of their blog post. Like you, they are also very busy. Assigning a consistent publication time, allows them to better prepare their blog post. If you’re using WordPress for your blog, you may want to use the editorial calendar plug-in. Watch this video for more info. Continue reading

September 7, 2011

Design your social media activities to create engagement

Image courtesy of escuchoelecodetuvoz on Flickr

How to measure your nonprofit’s Return on Engagement

Debra AskanaseLast month I spoke at the Social Media for Nonprofits conference in New York on creating and measuring return on engagement (ROE). In fact, social media engagement should have been the untitled conference theme. Almost every speaker presented a case study or spoke about his or her use of social media for successful engagement, from how to use video to engage (charity: water’s September Birthday campaign) to how to create multi-channel fundraising engagement (Big Duck).

And you know what? They’re right. Without engagement, social media ultimately fails. However, you can design your social media activities to create online engagement. My conference presentation covered five core concepts about how to design real online engagement for the highest return on engagement:

  1. Numbers do not equal return on engagement (see this post on the Case of the 4,000 Twitter Followers Who Don’t Care).
  2. You can design social media activities for real engagement.
  3. How to leverage relationship ties organizationally to convert fans to superfans (and increase ROE).
  4. Align SMART goals with social media design
  5. Three approaches to measuring Return on Engagement: community commitment, fan trust and SMART goal achievement.

Trust and reciprocity are key to results

When researching data and gathering ideas for the presentation, what really struck me were two related ideas:

• A co-creation strategy resonates with your fans and encourages the highest levels of real engagement.

This study on the true value of social media clearly demonstrates that a user-generated content strategy and co-creation strategy moves more fans to influence a purchase and talk about brands than any other type of social media action. Continue reading

September 6, 2011

9 steps to getting started with Google Plus

Decide how to take advantage of the newest social network

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations businesses, brands, bloggers, educators, individuals.

John HaydonGoogle’s new social networking platform, Google Plus, is still going strong since it was released at the end of June. Farra Trompeter at Big Duck created an awesome Slideshare presentation that outlined the steps to get your nonprofit started with Google Plus.

Here are nine ways to start off with Google Plus:

1Set up a personal profile. Google Plus does not yet support profiles for nonprofits, organizations or businesses. So decide which individuals at your organization can serve as representatives for your brand. Begin to connect with thought leaders in your field, and connect with people you already know. Note: You can ignore people after you add them to a Circle.

2Manage your privacy. One of the best things about Google Plus is that you can configure the security of each section of your Google Plus profile. This video will show you how to configure Google Plus’s privacy settings.

3Learn the features. Google has created an easy-to-understand guide for Google Plus. There is also an epic Google document with every tip and trick users have discovered, plus this useful website on Google Plus. I’ve also created a few video tutorials.

4Understand how it works. As with any social network, it’s important to understand both the functionality of the tool and community etiquette. As Beth Kanter points out, Google Plus allows for asymmetric sharing: I follow you, but you might not follow me.

5Consider what you want to add to the stream. Ultimately the value that you get from Google Plus is in direct proportion to the value you give. Before you share something, ask yourself: “Will this really be useful to people?” Google Plus can’t give you the mindset to put others before yourself, but it can give you the tools to share selectively. Continue reading

September 1, 2011

Social change & nonprofit calendar: September

Social Capital Markets returns to San Francisco next week.


Events guide for nonprofits & social change organizations

JD LasicaConference season is ramping up again. Here’s a roundup of conferences and events scheduled in the nonprofit and social change sectors for the month of September. I’ll be attending the Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco next week.

For the full year, see our Calendar of 2011 social change conferences. If you’re interested in social media, tech and marketing conferences, see this month’s calendar on our sister site,

If you know of other events, please share by adding the info in the comments below.

SOCAP Sept. 6-9 San Francisco
SOCAP is a multi-platform organization dedicated to the flow of capital toward social good. The event series connects leading global innovators – investors, foundations, institutions and social entrepreneurs – to build this market at the intersection of money and meaning. SOCAP11 is asking, What needs to be created, what needs to be put into action, what should the social capital market stand for? What does Money + Meaning = ? SOCAP
Open Video Conference Sept. 10-12 New York
This multi-day summit brings together thought leaders in business, academia, art and activism to shape the future of online video. It’s a forum for technical and creative innovation in online video as well as larger questions. This year’s event will be about a third as big as years past, with an emphasis on working groups and concrete action. OVC
Social Venture Institute Sept. 14-18 Cortes Island, BC
Participants will present their business problems to a panel of experienced business leaders and fellow participants. In return, they receive advice, tools, and resources to strengthen and grow their enterprise in a socially conscious way. SVI
Web of Change Sept. 21-25 Cortes Island, BC
Web of Change connects the foremost thinkers and do-ers in the growing community of social change and technology from across North America. Tim and Nicholas
IdeaFestival Sept. 21-24 Louisville, Ky.
IdeaFestival is a world-class event that attracts leading global innovators and thinkers to discuss and celebrate imagination, new perspectives and transformational ideas. (I’ve spoken here in the past and recommend it.) It provides a stage to explore the cross-cutting nature of innovation involving a range of diverse disciplines. ray-kurzweil
Artez InterAction Sept. 29 Toronto
Join thought leaders and peers and participate in one of the world’s top social fundraising exchanges. Watch an all-star lineup of speakers and sessions to explore the potential of mobile and social media on your fundraising programs. Steve Mast

Image at top by Julie Blaustein on Flickr