Practical Guide: Using Social Media For Nonprofit Fundraising

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Where’s a good percentage of your target audience hanging around right now?
Well, if there’s one hangout on the Internet where you can be sure to find them, it has to be social media.

If you’re planning a campaign and wondering about how to start telling the world about it, head straight to social media.Your potential donors are logging in and out of their profiles and feeds all day long on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and more…

This makes social media a superb channel for raising funds for your next nonprofit campaign.

If you use social media effectively, you can:

Raise awareness about your campaign
Engage people across various verticals
Receive donations
And lastly set your campaign promotion on autopilot
In this post, we’ll look at a systematic way to leverage social media for fundraising.
But I want to discuss some key elements of a social media post before we get to creating the right social media strategy. Sounds logical right?

ELEMENTS OF AN OPTIMIZED SOCIAL MEDIA POST

#Hashtag:
When you plan a new post, you search for a keyword because you want to optimize your content for that keyword.
In similar context, users of the social media use the hashtag to filter out similar stories. You can call hashtags your social media keywords.

I know how social media posts with nothing but hashtags can get really annoying. You come across so many tweets and Facebook messages that contain nothing but hashtags. This is not just a wrong way to do it but also a spammy one.
But such abuse of the hashtag shouldn’t stop you from using them in your promotional posts. Having 2-3 hashtags is considered fine.

Images:

An easy and sure way of connecting in your social outreach is using images. Posts with images get reshared more and create a lasting impact on users.
So begin with some thought-provoking images. If you can get some custom images created, that could be really nice.

I am sharing the ideal sizes of the shareable images based onSproutsocial’s resource. We have to be so thankful to them for doing all the hard work.

Call to action (CTA):

This is an obviously underrated element of a social post. If you are promoting your latest blog post through a Facebook message, can you forget to add its link? Perhaps not — likewise, when you’re posting messages about your campaigns, be sure to include a clear call to action (CTA).

Otherwise you will lose a potential donor by just not clearly telling him how to donate.

Sharing options:

Your most important CTA will be the one that asks users to donate. There’s no question about it. You will have lots of social media posts for just these. But you should alternate some of these with posts that encourage users to spread word about your campaign.

Now that we have a recipe for a nice social media post, lets look at some of the leading social media platforms to begin fundraising.

Twitter

Composing the tweet:

Twitter is everybody’s favorite!

You do have a limit of 140 characters here but you should still be able to pack all the above elements into it.
Some hashtags that you can directly plugin your tweet:
#nonprofit
#fundraising
#volunteers

You can discover some more relevant hashtags using Hashtag Scout.

Adding an image:

Do remember to attach your campaign’s featured image too. Tweets with images get multiple times more traction than tweets without images. Another benefit of adding an image is that you can add some content about your mission statement on the image itself (although the image link will also take up some of the 140 characters)

The ideal dimension of a shareable image is 435 x 375 pixels.

Thanking the donor:

A person who donates to a cause is likely to volunteer for it too. So while thanking a donor and letting him know what his donation means, you should also encourage him to spread word about the campaign.

 

FACEBOOK

Composing the post:

Even here, we would want to include all the elements of a shareable social post. Besides, there’s no character limit in Facebook.
This allows you to feature full stories and not just some chopped bytes.
You should use Facebook and share stories about your campaign and what you are looking to improve through it. You can also use it to talk about the people whose lives will get bettered by the campaign.

Using hashtags:

You can use several hashtags even in Facebook. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and try to include as many tags as possible. But again, you will look spammy if you overdo it. Adding about 3 hashtags should feel enough.
If you want to create your own hashtag, you can choose to define it here.

Adding images:

The recommended upload size is 1,200 x 630 pixels.
In Facebook, you can create and maintain pages. You can also create image galleries. These let you use images from the last time that you ran the same campaign and use them to engage more people.

Thanking the donor:

Lots of studies have shown that an alarming number of donors don’t return to donate for the cause. You can improve your situation by thanking all the donors and keeping them engaged even while the campaign is running and keep them posted with its progress. Facebook’s discussion feature makes this possible easily.

Creating events:

Facebook lets you create events. You can create an event to share news about your upcoming campaign. Your fans can register for the event and know about the campaign well in advance.

 

PINTEREST

Unlike the top 2, Pinterest works with images only. It’s easily the most visual social media site.

Visual information is a lot easier to consume than text information. This works great for nonprofits as lots of data and facts can be better expressed as a simple image or an infographic rather than a blog post.

Creating boards:

When you are creating a board for your campaign, be sure to include the:
Volunteers – these make-up the engine that drives your campaign. Give them the attention they deserve.
Donors – these people also deserve a mention as they are they ones who are generate funds for your campaign. Acknowledging their contributions earns their loyalty for your cause.
Beneficiaries – these are the people whose lives will be improved by the campaign. Keeping them on the social center stage is what will inspire others to join you along the way.
Using hashtags:
When you describe your pins, be sure to include 2-3 relevant hashtags. These will help improving your visibility.

 GOOGLE+

Now there can be a reasonable debate about what results to expect from Google+ as a social media referral. But still you shouldn’t get affected by this. Google+ can be very useful in raising funds for your campaign.

Composing a post:

Creating content for Google+ posts is similar to creating content for Facebook posts. You don’t really gave any character limit in any of these 2 platforms.

Using hashtags:

You can use relevant hashtags to spread your outreach.

Adding images:

Google maintains that posts with images get shared 3 time over the posts without them. The recommended size of shareable image is 497 x 373 pixels.

Creating events:

Creating events too is somewhat similar to Facebook, but here you can filter the events based on circles. You can choose to broadcast a certain message to all the people in your volunteers circle. Similarly, you can have different messages going out to the people in your donors circle.

You can streamline your strategy based on these additional features.

Google has an exhaustive resource to help nonprofits get started with Google+. If you plan to use Google+, don’t proceed without reading this doc.
Google+ also runs a program for nonprofits. Make sure that you are listed there.

 

STAY CONSISTENT

No matter what social media you choose to promote your campaign and raise funds, it’s important to stay consistent. Please be sure that you converse in a single social media voice across all the different channels.

I hope that this guide will help you create optimized social media posts that help you generate funds for your next nonprofit.

Please do let me know if you have any questions or have any tips to share.

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