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On this episode of Bloomerang TV, Rob Wu, CEO of CauseVox, joins us to discuss ways to leverage social media on #GivingTuesday.

Full Transcript:

Steven: Hey there. Welcome to this weeks episode of Bloomerang TV. Thanks so much for tuning in. I’m Steven as always, your host. We’re coming up on Giving Tuesday. We’re recording this in late October. We’re getting close to Giving Tuesday, which is right in the beginning of December.

If you are planning a Giving Tuesday campaign or initiative, you’ve probably thought, at least a little bit, about social media. We all know that social media can play a big part in Giving Tuesday. So I’ve brought someone on who can talk about that. He is Rob Wu. He is the CEO over at CauseVox. Hey Rob, how’s it going?

Rob: Pretty good. How’s it going over there?

Steven: Good, thanks for being here. Before we jump into it, I want to give you an opportunity to talk to folks about what you do over at CauseVox, and what that company is all about.

Rob: Sure. I lead a company called CauseVox. I’m the CEO over there. What CauseVox is, we’re a nonprofit crowdfunding platform, as well as a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. So basically what that means is nonprofits and social good projects use our platform to create fundraising websites. They can use those fundraising websites for crowdfunding campaigns, donation pages, recurring gift campaigns, peer-to-peer fundraising. We take care of everything from helping you easily launch a campaign site without a need to know how to code, all the way to reporting and disbursements for your campaigns or your donation pages.

Steven: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a cool platform. You should check it out for sure if you’re interested in something that can do all that. Rob, I know that you write, speak, and talk all about crowdfunding, that’s what you’re all about. Maybe you can talk about why social media is so engrained, intertwined, so critical to really any crowdfunding campaign. What’s the connection there between social media and crowdfunding?

Rob: Sure. So the interesting thing about crowdfunding is that, the reason why crowdfunding exists is because of social media. Social media allows you to easily reach people that you would not have reached. As well as allows you to tell a compelling story very easily and very cheaply. Now, how crowdfunding plays into that is, it basically leverages a really easy way for you to have an online presence with a donation page, with gamification components in it. Then it leverages social media in it so that you can actually spread and raise awareness about the campaign super easily. As well as leveraging your networks and your friends of friends. Social media is a super integral part to crowdfunding and it wouldn’t exist without it.

Steven: Now, we’re coming up on Giving Tuesday, which is of course is this global day, where it is a crowdfunding campaign. Like I said in the intro, it seems like you’re not going to be successful on Giving Tuesday if you don’t leverage social media correctly. Would you agree with that statement? Is that a fair statement to make?

Rob: Yeah, 100%. So Giving Tuesday, what’s interesting about it is, its one of the biggest, if not the biggest giving days of the whole year. Mainly because there are just so many different nonprofits, tens of thousands that participate in the Giving Tuesday campaign.

Social media is an important part of Giving Tuesday because, the first reason is Giving Tuesday is a hashtag. They want everybody to know that this is a social media driven campaign. If you look at givingtuesday.org everything is hashtagged out. What that means is that they’re pumping a lot of publicity to the hashtag. A lot of people are becoming aware of it.

Because of that, when you’re running a Giving Tuesday campaign, you should make sure that you focus on social media. Then you can leverage some of that press, publicity, and awareness. Once you do leverage social media for it, you can use your own networks. Then you can also use some of our techniques in social media to leverage influencers, as well as leverage different conversations that people are having on trending topics, such as Giving Tuesday.

Steven: So put yourself in the shoes of a nonprofit. Its maybe a couple weeks out from Giving Tuesday. You’re a nonprofit, and you’re active on social media. So maybe you have a Facebook page, Twitter page, an Instagram, all of those. How do you decide what channel or multiple channels, if that’s accurate, to concentrate on, on Giving Tuesday? Should you choose one and not the others? Should you just put all your eggs in one basket? Should you diversify? How do you go about deciding what channels to utilize? There are a lot of social networks out there.

Rob: Yeah, there are dozens if not hundreds of social networks out there. I believe last time I looked, about 74% of all internet users used some type of social media. So a lot of people are on it. If you’re just a few weeks out and if you’re a nonprofit just getting started for Giving Tuesday, then the best thing to do is look at what channels you typically use already. The channels you typically use are probably channels that your supporters are on. You kind of want to go where people are having conversations or having activity.

If you’re a nonprofit that uses Facebook heavily, and you’re seeing in your Facebook insights and analytics that people are engaging with posts, people are liking the things that you post throughout the year. Then that probably means that you want to leverage that social media channel, Facebook, as a way to spread your message and raise awareness.

You can also do the same thing with Twitter too. Twitter has analytics too. So if you’ve been using Twitter you kind of have a better idea of your engaged followers as well as what people are interested in, you can use that insight to craft a message for Giving Tuesday.

Now, if its a few weeks out for Giving Tuesday and you haven’t really invested the time into a social media channel like Instagram or Google+, or whatever else is out there, then it might be a little too late to do that for this year. In a nutshell, if you’re a nonprofit with just a few weeks out, I would encourage you guys to just focus on the channels that you have the most type of activity.

Now if you’re a nonprofit that hasn’t invested a lot of time on social media like Facebook or Twitter, then you still want to have a presence there. But you will probably be focusing more time on other channels like your email list, your Google group, or your face-to-face events instead. So you kind of just want to figure out where people are having conversations and how people engage. Target communications on those channels.

Steven: Makes sense. So you’ve got your channels, you feel good about them, and you mentioned this, crafting your content. How do you go about deciding what to send out? I feel like a lot of people fall into this trap of just blasting, “Please donate, please donate, please donate,” over and over until the day is done. What are some cool ways to come up with some unique content that grabs those eyeballs on the networks you’re using.

Rob: Sure. Yeah. The interesting thing is I talked to Danielle Festa, from Grey2K, they’re a small nonprofit that ran a really successful Giving Tuesday campaign on CauseVox last year. Their original goal was to raise $5,000, but they raised $10,000. I wanted to try to figure out how they did it. One of the things we talked about, was about what kind of content you should be posting on social media for Giving Tuesday. She recommended that there are basically two kinds of content when you’re trying to figure it out.

There is kind of the sales call to action, which is “Please donate.” Then there is the entertaining, educational, inspirational type of posts, stuff that would get people excited, get people excited to share that post. She found out that 80% of her posts should be the inspirational, educational kind. While only 20% of her posts should be the sales call to actions like “Please donate.” Once you do this, then people will want to share your post and they will want to engage with your Facebook page or your Twitter channels.

Once you prime the pump a little bit, then you have a call to action. People will be more likely to spread that as well, as well as click on the link to donate. If you’re a nonprofit kind of thinking about what types of content you want to put out, you want to talk about the stories to inspire people, educate people on your cause. You can use those types of posts well in advance of Giving Tuesday to really get people ready. Once Giving Tuesday rolls around you can make an announcement, have a few more sales to action type of posts. That will drive a lot of traffic and donations to your campaign site.

Steven: That makes a lot of sense. What about after? Are there good ways to leverage social media on December 2, December 3, December 4 after Giving Tuesday is over?

Rob: Yeah. Definitely. There are a few different ways. The two that kind of pop up in my mind, the first one is, thanking your donors for helping you. As you guys know, keeping track of donors, building that loyalty, and thanking donors is super important. That’s kind of what you guys have built a platform for, Bloomerang. When you’re communicating on social media, you should do the same thing. Really focus on thanking donors as well as building loyalty for future campaigns.

You can use social media for that. You can tweet out if you have their Twitter account, tweet out a thank you. Even on Facebook you can list a few donors or giving a blanket thank you and show what people have accomplished as a community.

The second thing you can do after Giving Tuesday, is a lot of nonprofits use Giving Tuesday, because it falls on December 1 this year, as well as in previous years in early December. They use it as a start of their year-end giving. What a lot of nonprofits do is they transform the Giving Tuesday campaign, or they use it to launch off their year-end giving campaign because they have the communications lined up. It allows nonprofits to onramp people to the whole giving season, through Giving Tuesday.

So the announcement could be, “Hey if you missed out on Giving Tuesday, then you can participate in one, two, three different ways,” including making a donation for year-end. It allows you to continue the conversation to have a further call to action.

Steven: I’m glad you said that because I feel like there is a lot of criticism that is like, “Oh Giving Tuesday is going to cannibalize your year-end giving.” I completely disagree, and agree with what you said. It can really be that starting or jumping point to really get things going that whole month of December.

Rob: For sure. Well hopefully it can kick things off. We’ve seen some nonprofits get interested about Giving Tuesday, but when we talked to them, they don’t do anything for year-end giving for some apparent reason. I think when it comes to year-end, a lot of donors are very primed and conditioned to support and donate. Using Giving Tuesday to kick off the season is one way just to capture the beginning momentum and then as you move on to December 31 you have another social media campaign to drive more traffic to your donation page.

Steven: Makes sense. Rob, this is awesome to have you. Thanks so much for sharing your advice. I want to let you have the last word and tell folks where they can learn more about CauseVox and check you guys out.

Rob: Sure. So CauseVox, what we do is crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising for crowdfunding campaigns as well as for Giving Tuesday. If you’re interested in finding a platform, if you haven’t selected one yet, feel free to check out CauseVox.com. Also on our blog and on our learning center we have tons of resources on how you can launch a Giving Tuesday campaign. How you can use social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, to really drive traffic. As well as how you can tell stories too, how you can use that to drive more traffic to your campaign site. Check it out on CauseVox.com

Steven: Yeah. Do check it out. We’ll link to all that good stuff. Its really good content. It’ll help you a lot. Rob, this is awesome. Thank you for being here.

Rob: Yeah, thank you so much for the opportunity. I love to share insights and hopefully this helps nonprofits move the needle a little bit this season.

Steven: For sure. Good luck with your campaigns. If you’re watching this, hopefully you got some inspiration. Let us know how it goes. We always like to know how folks did on Giving Tuesday. Drop us a line and we’ll catch you for another episode of Bloomerang TV. We’ll have another smart person on here talking about some good fundraising stuff. We’ll talk to you then. Take care now.

Rob: Thanks so much.

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Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. She also serves as the Director of Communications for PRSA’s Hoosier chapter.
Kristen Hay