As nonprofit organizations amp up their fundraising efforts to capitalize on donor’s beginning-of-the-year generosity, many now use social media channels and crowdfunding to raise awareness and create buzz around their fundraising campaigns. Here’s a look at several nonprofits that have used creative social media or crowdfunding strategies and the key takeaways other nonprofit organizations can learn from them.
1. Unicef: Many nonprofits and companies chase Facebook likes, but this humanitarian aid and emergency relief organization made this bold statement: “Like us on Facebook, and we will vaccinate zero children against polio.” Nonprofithub.com named Unicef’s campaign one of the top four nonprofit social media campaigns of the year, because it used social media in an unexpected way, driving home the point that monetary donations make a greater impact than social media likes and hopefully inspiring people to donate rather than simply clicking a like button.
Takeaways: Use messaging that encourages fans to go beyond “liking” your organization and actually supporting it in a more meaningful way.
2. Water Aid: International nonprofit Water Aid used Twitter to support its campaign to bring clean water and sanitation to Bokola and Kaniche. So far, the Big Dig campaign has raised close to £2.5 million. Reasondigital.com reports that Water Aid used hashtag #thebigdig to link to campaign-specific blog posts and keep followers updated on fundraising progress. The organization also posted regular updates about the program on a blog and held regular competitions to keep people engaged.
Takeaways: Use a hashtag and encourage followers to use them too. Be consistent in your hashtag use and don’t stuff too many hashtags into a single update. Hashtags help organize updates on a single campaign, and if a hashtag is especially successful, it could become a Twitter trending topic.
3. Not Far from the Tree: Earlier this year, the Toronto-based fruit-harvesting nonprofit surpassed its initial crowdfunding goal of $4,000, raising $6,004. It achieved this by sending a variety of communications to donors, posting a video explaining its work and mission, and offering a range of donor rewards including a tote bag or party tickets depending on the amount donated.
Takeaways: Use videos in your crowdfunding campaign to speak directly to your donors and put a human face on your organization. Also make sure that your rewards align with your organization’s work and mission. A Huffington Post article on crowdfunding says a good fundraising video and attainable goal are keys to a successful nonprofit crowdfunding campaign.
4. Keep a Child Alive: This nonprofit focuses on supporting kids and families affected by HIV. In 2010, the nonprofit enlisted the help of celebrities like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys to “kill” their digital selves in support of the organization’s mission. The goal was for the celebrities to remain silent on social media until they raised $1 million, according to Reasondigital.com. The organization eventually reached its goal with the help of a billionaire supporter but acknowledged some shortcomings in the process.
Takeaways: Leveraging the social media influence of big names is a huge coup for any nonprofit. However, it’s also important to set realistic fundraising goals so that those who support the organization aren’t disappointed if the total falls short of the goal.
What nonprofits have you noticed using social media effectively? Let us know in the comments below!