February 22, 2012

3 secrets to raising big bucks online

Wide use of social media by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

A look at how nonprofits are using social media to fund-raise for social good

Guest post by Frank Barry
Director, Professional Services, Blackbaud

According to a study by Blackbaud, NTEN and Common Knowledge, over 92 percent of nonprofit organizations have a presence on at least one social networking site, but most raise very little money through their social activity.

In fact, 87 percent have raised under $1,000 on Facebook since they began using the platform.

A big part of what holds nonprofit organizations back is the fact that they can’t risk full-fledged social media adoption because they’re short staffed and must focus on creating revenue and running programs — helping real people in the real world.

Yet despite the lack of widespread fundraising success, social media is clearly a hot topic in the nonprofit space. Conferences dedicated to helping nonprofits learn how to leverage social media for social good are popping up. Big social fundraising days coupled with workshops and other training events are taking advantage of the groundswell of social fundraising activity. And large online publications like Mashable are even covering social media for social good.

89% of nonprofits use Facebook while 57% use Twitter — and more than half have no formal budgets for social networks.

According to Darian Rodriguez Heyman, author of “Nonprofit Management 101” and creator of the Social Media for Nonprofits conference, “In a world where Facebook is the equivalent of the third largest country on the planet, we have to ask ourselves, ‘How can nonprofits leverage the immense word-of-mouth potential that social media makes available to causes both large and small?’ Nonprofit leaders need practical tips and tools for fundraising, marketing, and advocacy if they are to maximize impact online and in general.”

So what is holding nonprofit organizations back and how are the top 1 percent succeeding? It’s clear from the data below that three big things contribute to the lack of fundraising success: 1) lack of budget, 2) lack of staffing, and 3) lack of focus on raising money. Continue reading

September 16, 2011

HelpAttack!: Unleash the charitable power of social media

Social fundraising tool for nonprofits turns messages into donations

Guest post by Ehren Foss
CEO, HelpAttack!

ehren_fossNonprofits may be interested in what HelpAttack! brings to the social fundraising party. When a donor uses HelpAttack!, each tweet or Facebook update can be a donation, with no need to tag, re-post or change your habits as a donor. It’s a way to seamlessly add giving to your online life.

HelpAttack! was the brainchild of Sarah VelaDavid J. Neff and myself. Everybody was asking Sarah to donate, and before long she was saturated with asks. What if, she thought, the message itself – the tweet, the donation link, the uploaded photo of a proto-mustache – was the donation?

The concept is simple: a penny a tweet could be donated to your favorite nonprofit or cause, no matter what the tweet is about.

Her idea was simple: a penny a tweet could be donated to your favorite nonprofit or cause, no matter what the tweet is about. No need to tag, retweet or change your social media habits in any way. And a more harmonious, slightly less spammy Twitterverse.

Since its initial rollout, HelpAtack! has expanded on that original idea. HelpAttack! has added Facebook pledges and features for cause organizations to create their own page and messaging. Recently, we added a few additional types of pledges: You can now give when someone else tweets or when hashtags and other terms appear on Twitter. Simply decide which organization will receive your donations, assign a donation amount per tweet or Facebook update (or assigned hashtag or term), a maximum donation amount and tweet or update, away. Continue reading

May 4, 2011

How to create love online: To Mama with Love

Honor your mom by supporting schools & women’s shelters abroad

Debra AskanaseWith Mother’s Day just around the corner, let’s give props to To Mama With Love, a collaborative online art project that honors moms across the globe and raises funds to invest in remarkable women who are transforming our world. An initiative of Epic Change, the folks behind Tweetsgiving, To Mama With Love is simply about creating and spreading love.

In the grassroots effort, which runs through Sunday — Mother’s Day — participants create socially shareable “heartspaces” that include words, videos, photos and investments in honor of mamas they love. The change-makers are four incredible women who have created schools and shelters for children who face poverty, illiteracy, and lack of opportunity in Nepal, Afghanistan, and Tanzania. Epic Change’s goal this year is to raise at least $65,000 to invest in Mama Lucy’s secondary school in Tanzania; Renu and Maggie’s schools in Kathmandu & Surkhet, Nepal, and Suraya’s women’s shelter in Afghanistan.

To Mama With Love is a social media fundraising campaign, and it has been designed carefully for success. Epic Change has taken every principle of great community organizing and integrated it into To Mama With Love. If you want to run a successful social media fundraising campaign, you can’t do better than to follow their lead. Here’s how:

Continue reading

February 15, 2011

$100,000 in three days: How #TeamAutism did it


Guest post by Amy Sample Ward

Earlier this month, Samsung Hope for Children, the national philanthropic initiative of the Seoul-based tech company, and the Dan Marino Foundation launched a new social action campaign, “Team Up for Autism,” in conjunction with the first annual WalkAbout for Autism organized by the foundation started by the former Miami Dolphins quarterback. The initiative set about to help raise awareness and funding in support of medical research, services and treatment programs for children with autism.

Samsung pledged to contribute up to $100,000 through this social action challenge, providing a donation of $5 to the Dan Marino Foundation each time someone pledged their support of autism awareness by sharing an infographic with their Facebook friends or sending a tweet with the hashtag #teamautism. And in just 72 hours, they reached their goal of $100,000 through TeamUpForAutism.com.

That’s a whole lot of donations in just three days! So, I connected with Sloane Berrent, founder of The Causemopolitan and a partner in Socialbrite, to learn more about this success story. She’s working with the creative agency JESS3 on this entire campaign. They created the infographic and pulled her in for the overall digital strategy.

Going into the campaign, did you really expect to hit your goal in just three days? What were the goals and expectations you had set for the campaign internally?

Sloane Berrent

Sloane Berrent assisted with the #TeamAutism campaign (photo by JD Lasica)

Sloane Berrent: It was truly a surprise to reach the goal in three days. There was a campaign they did in December with a very similar look and feel. That campaign had an infographic and charity partner and a set amount of money Samsung was donating based on social actions taken online. That campaign reached the goal, but it took a month to do it. Which is still amazing to take your online community and engage them in the process. A big success.

That said, this time around, Samsung, the Dan Marino Foundation and JESS3 were looking for more bite. The goal was $100,000 and we were given a month but were definitely hoping for two weeks. It was absolutely amazing to reach our goal so quickly, and it’s because of all of the hard work we did beforehand that it happened. That and a bit of groundswell.

What kind of post-campaign planning did you do before launching?

Sloane Berrent: We really focused on building our team of advocates before we launched the campaign. I know a lot of campaigns where people feel that you launch and put it out there and then you bring people in and have them share in the experience. But for this campaign we really baked them in early. We contacted autism advocates and let them know this campaign was coming. Continue reading