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Social Media For The Small Shop Fundraiser in 3 Steps

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How to Use Social Media to Improve Donor Loyalty

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There’s not enough time in the day, right?

It’s impossible to find the time to reply to every email, make every call and do every bit of admin. On top of that you have to find time to work on your overall strategy, plan next year, and hold it together without crying in to your coffee.
So who has time for social media?

Social media is notoriously difficult to make worthwhile in fundraising, and if you’re being honest with yourself you’re probably on it as more of a fun distraction than the best use of your time. At the same time you do want to keep an active presence online so that your supporters and followers stay interested.

Sure it would be nice to have a full-time ‘Social Media Manager’…but very few of us can justify that.

By being clever about it and by using the right tools you can maintain a really entertaining and lively social media presence by putting aside less than an hour a week. And if, like me, you’re the only fundraiser in a small charity then that’s probably all the time you can spare.

This is how I do it:

1. First, Gather Your Content

I have 5 types of content which I share:

  • News – I have Google News Alerts set up to notify me whenever there is an article that mentions my charity, my boss, or any topic related to the area we work in (eg. “sexual abuse”)
  • Blog Posts – I’ll re-share our own blog posts and articles which are not date specific. There’s absolutely no harm in repeating content.
  • Memes – It’s painfully annoying, but memes are the most popular thing we share. There are loads of inspirational or funny quotes and pictures online. Yoink!
  • Messages from Service Users & Supporters – we have a bank of messages written by people involved with our charity. These are gold.
  • Call To Action – I keep a steady trickle of ‘asks’ going: Requests for donations, for volunteers, to join the mailing list, etc.

2. Schedule Your Posts

I used to use TweetDeck, and now I use Buffer. There are plenty of free and paid applications out there that let you schedule updates for your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Once a week I’ll line up a week’s worth of content to be posted at scheduled times of the day, rotating through the 5 different types of content. There is a wealth of contradictory information online about how often and when to post on social media.

We started by posting about 3 or 4 times a day, but as our bank of good content has grown we have begun to share more often throughout the day without jeopardising our engagement and response rates.

Like with every bit of donor communication, there’s no such thing as too often as long as the content is good. If your posts are boring and unappealing, then even once a day is too much. Compare that with someone like Mashable who get away with tweeting good stuff several times an hour.

Exceptions To The Schedule

Of course there are times when you’ll break away the schedule. When you’re pushing a specific appeal or promoting a specific event then you’ll want to move away from the automated approach.

Similarly, if a big news story breaks which is relevant to your cause then put your regularly scheduled programming on hold!

3. Be Ready To React

On top of everything else, you’ll have supporters reacting and responding to your posts…which is amazing!  Take the opportunity to at least like their reaction, and potentially respond to them. This makes people more likely to interact again and develop the relationship beyond just social media.

Remember what your goal is here: you want to make people feel loved by your charity so that they’re more likely to respond to one of your Calls To Action.

Let’s be brutally honest: social media is worthless unless it’s an avenue to action. It’s better to have ten fans on Facebook that donated when asked rather than a million fans that did nothing. So always shoot for quality over quantity.

How does your small shop use social media? Let me know in the comments below!

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As part of Bloomerang’s Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to One in Four Ireland.

Digital Marketing For Non-Profits & Charities – Getting Started & Setting Priorities With Digital Marketing: Building An Audience, Communicating and Fundraising Online –> Register for the course <<here>>


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