Scary Good Social Fundraising
Last week, we were joined by Nathan Hand for a webinar entitled “Scary Good Social Fundraising.” Nathan, a frequent speaker, blogger and fundraising pro, shared his strategies for successful fundraising via social media and shared some of his favorite examples of successful campaigns. In case you missed it, you can watch a replay here:
Steven: Okay, so I’m logged in as the presenter on one laptop and I’m
following along so I can chat on the other one.
Steven: Yeah, Nathan, hand one, that’s good.
Nathan: Yeah we’ll see if it works. I was getting an echo for a second.
Steven: Oh really? I want to make sure my speakers are off here, there
we go. Well, thanks, everyone, who’s joining the room early,
we’re going to get started here in just about one or two
Well Nathan, I’ve got 1:00. Do you want to get started?
Nathan: Sounds great.
Steven: Okay, great. Well good afternoon to those of you on the east
coast and good morning if you’re on the West Coast. Thanks for
joining us for today’s Boomerang webinar entitled Scary Good
Social Fundraising. And happy Halloween as well. My name is
Steven Shattuck and I’m the VP of Marketing here at Boomerang,
and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion. And joining me today,
I’m very excited to have him here, is Nathan Hand, hey there
Nathan: Good morning and afternoon.
Steven: Thanks for being here, thanks for taking an hour to join us
today. For those you who don’t know Nathan, he’s a fundraising
crow, he’s a blogger, he’s a speaker and he’s just an all-around
great guy. He’s someone I admire a lot, especially here in the
Indiana nonprofit community that we’ve got going on here.
And if you’re not familiar with Nathan he works with
organizations large and small on a variety of nonprofit
management, fundraising, and development initiative. He’s worked
on capital campaign planning, social media management, as well
as fundraising and development, including annual funds, donor
relations, and marketing. He just does it all, it seems like.
And Nathan currently serves as Director of Advancement at The
Oaks Academy; it’s a great school here in Indiana. And he’s also
the incoming President of AFP Indiana. So, Nathan, just thanks
again for being here. I’m really excited to have you share your
knowledge with all the folks on today’s webinar.
Nathan: No problem at all, I’m happy to be here. Happy to be here.
Steven: So what’s going to happen today is Nathan’s going to jump right
in. He’s got a great presentation planned. I had a chance to
peek at some of his slides here and he’s going to share some
great anecdotes, some best practices and some good case studies
And during his presentation feel free to use the chat box right
there on your webinar screen. Send any questions or comments.
He’ll see those, I’ll see those and as soon as he’s done we’ll
jump right into an interactive question and answer session. So,
Nathan’s here as a resource for you for the next hour so ask
anything that’s on your mind relating to social media and
fundraising. So I’m not going to waste any more time I’m going
to let Nathan take it away right now.
Nathan: Great, well Steven, I appreciate being here and since I can’t
see everybody I’m going ahead and ask you to be seated. Hold
your applause. I feel like introductions are inversely
proportional to what you’ve actually accomplished.
Nathan: Meaning they just say, ladies and gentlemen, the Pope, or the
President. No, I appreciate being here, I appreciate the intro.
Happy to be here and I love this stuff. I’ve failed at it and
succeeded at it. I’m happy you share some of those lessons.
We’ll go ahead and dive in. For those of you who are just
logging in now we’re just getting started. So welcome and we’re
going to move pretty quick. If you do want to throw a question
in the chat box, if it’s quick we’ll try to address it,
otherwise we’ll hold most of them for the end, but here we go.
So here’s the scariest part about social media fundraising, is
the fact that there are, I’m sure this number’s already outdated
but, 250 million tweets a day. So, Steven can you post the
[inaudible 05:32] now?
Nathan: So, a quarter billion tweets a day. It’s not a cute little bird
anymore that Twitter’s supposed to be. It’s this ginormous,
scary thing. But I think a lot of people try, they don’t
understand necessarily how to navigate it so they quickly don’t
see value and they give up when, in fact, there’s tremendous
value so we’re going to show a little bit of that stuff today.
So here’s our plan of attack. We’re going to talk quickly about
why social media changes things for those of you that are still
trying to understand this or you’re getting some ammunition for
your boss to share why you need to spend a little time on it.
We’ll help you out there. We’ll talk about the levels of
engagement that most nonprofits experience and I’ll go through
those really quick. Then we’ll dive into fundraising and
actually raising money online with social media’s help.
So what the rules are, we’ll run through seven sample campaigns
and then at the end, if you behave yourself we do have, most
places or just about everybody will tell you there’s no silver
bullet. And this is not a silver bullet but there are ways to
raise incredible amounts of funds without much of a social media
presence and so we’ll talk about what that looks like.
So I can’t hear you, but I know from looking through the list of
those that signed up we’ve got all sorts of levels of folks.
There’s several universities, several ginormous organizations,
and a bunch of you that have medium-sized budgets or smaller
that are flying solo and so we’re going to run through all of
these but understand…maybe in the Q & A we can address if you
have a particular question that relates to your size or type of
organization that might differ a little bit, we’ll try to
address that. We’re going to keep things, not necessarily
generic, but hopefully applicable to all.
So why this stuff is so important in changing things, I think
that this is the best analogy that has come across. If you’re a
company and you used to advertise you would find zip codes
essentially you’d buy lists of folks that you want to mail to or
you’d, in this case, you’d buy or rent a billboard somewhere
around [inaudible 07:54] people that you’re trying to reach live
or work or between where they live and work. So you look at the
codes and Chipotle’s sample, they’re looking for people that can
spend seven or eight bucks a piece on lunch or dinner. So
looking for folks who’ve got disposable income, here’s where
they are based on zip code and income level, throw up a
But they never really knew if it worked. [inaudible 08:23] you
make a 1 800 number or some sort of action, they never really
knew. You have marketers all over the country that are guessing
and trying to understand how to influence decision making. All
those sorts of things but never really having any idea because
they can’t track what was going on, they didn’t know who the
So earlier this summer I’m in line at Qdoba, there’s a Qdoba
close to the circle downtown Indianapolis. I don’t Tweet a lot
about food. I eat a lot but I don’t Tweet a ton about it. But I
just shot a tweet on Twitter that said, boy I’m hungry. Long
line at Qdoba today, good thing they’re amazing tacos or
something to that effect. And lo and behold about three seconds
later I get a message on Twitter from Qdoba. Sorry for the wait,
what’s your card number and lunch is on us today. So that, to
me, was incredible. Those were free tacos. And that’s not the
coolest part of it. What really just happened was a giant
national brand interacted with a consumer one on one instead of
throwing up a billboard and hoping I’d [inaudible 09:45], if
that makes sense. That’s what we’re talking about. The megaphone
Another great example, I hope some of your recognize this image.
Long story short, a couple years ago…we know in society that
airlines don’t care if they lose your luggage. It takes 16 and
400 pages of some sort of documentation bout what your bag looks
like in order to try to get it back and you never hear anything
and you just write it off and you go get a new toothbrush but
you’re furious at the airline. Well they didn’t care. They
didn’t care because they figured they were going to acquire more
customers that day for their giant marketing budget than you
were going to destroy telling your family how much you hated
this airline. So it was a calculated risk. They didn’t car and
they moved on.
Well, that changed. So this guy, and maybe it hasn’t changed as
much as it should but, essentially they broke the wrong guy’s
guitar. This guy flew on United Airlines, the broke his guitar
and they didn’t respond to his issue. Being a guitar singer and
player and songwriter he writes a song called United Breaks
Guitars and 14 bazillion hits later on YouTube they are begging
him to take it down. They’re offering him trips around the
world, free guitars, everything they can think of. Because what
happened? Well his creativity trumped their giant bazillion
dollar marketing budget.
The megaphone is switched. We’re in control now. And so what
we’re going to try to do in our organization and a nonprofit and
your cause, is build your own megaphone and connect and leverage
other people that have big megaphones. In much cheaper and often
free ways as opposed to throwing up a bunch of billboards and
advertising, if that makes sense.
So, hope that makes sense, that’s the big…oh that’s scary,
happy Halloween. Let’s get into the usage really quick. So I
can’t see a raise of hands but I would imagine several of you
are at this first level when you got an account or two, you may
or may not remember what the password is. You once in a great
while…if you’re a school maybe visit on the first day of
school and then again at graduation where you post. But often
times you forget about it. It’s not much of a focus therefore
you don’t have much of a following and you take this back to
work attitude to where social media’s not an integral part of
your work and so you’re going to, you’re just not going to get
Now I want to be clear and frank with you right now. The
organization I’m with is at this level and I’m okay with it.
We’ve made the conscious…we’ve got to get a few other things
done. So I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Twitter is
going to save everything and that should be your number one
priority. I think it should be on your radar and you should dive
in when you’re ready to commit. And you’re going to [inaudible
13:02] to go forward what that really takes. And if you’re here,
it’s okay. Just make a conscious choice to be here and don’t
shoot yourself in the foot if Twitter and Facebook can do more
for you and you just haven’t focused on it yet.
There’s a prezzie [SP] link now in the chat box and it is public
on the prezzie page if you’d like to follow along that way as
well. If you level you’re also, probably really excited when
someone tweets about you and that’s okay. That’s all right.
There’s some vanity involved here. My blog is named after me, my
Twitter handle is me. It’s okay when you like to see yourself in
public a little but because that means the important message
you’re sharing is getting heard and shared again.
So level two. It’s more engaged. You’ve got a couple accounts,
maybe you’ve picked Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You
decided to post purposefully and thoughtfully. Maybe you’ve made
the commitment we’re going to post twice a day to Twitter and
twice a day to Facebook. There’s no magic numbers. But I do
think those might be close. If you tweet a couple times and
you’re interactive there a couple times a day that’s great. If
you post a couple times and you’re inactive a week on Facebook I
think that’s about right or okay. There’s, of course, anomalies
to that rule and organizations that have full time tweet
constantly but if that’s not you, don’t be discouraged, that’s
But you’ve taken a commitment to do some of this and you’re
creating dialogue you’re not just blasting messages. You’re
having conversations, you’re sharing content. Maybe it’s stories
about your cause. You’re not just linking people to your
donation page three times a day. You’re sharing other people’s
stuff that is relevant to you and your cause. It’s still mostly
about you but you’re answering some questions and directing
traffic and hopefully you have a little bit more of a following,
if that makes sense.
Here’s where we want to get and hopefully those of you who are
seriously thinking about raising funds with these tools,
hopefully you’re here. But you [inaudible 15:12] which are best
for you and your audience. One of the best things we ever did at
an organization with another group was to sit down in a room
with a white board and make two lists. One of the things we were
comfortable posting about, and one that we weren’t. Because if
you dig into the fear of a lot of your bosses and CEOs they’re
uncomfortable letting anyone have the giant microphone and they
want to approve every tweet and we know that that’s not polar
So if you can set a list and some guide rails and share with
these folks, here’s what we’re going to be focused on. It’s all
pretty harmless, easy, fluffy, fun, however you need to frame it
and here’s the stuff that’s off limits that we will not comment
on so you don’t need to worry about it. That will help you so
far in those internal…in the commitment to this stuff. I think
it’s important to dedicate a full-time employee realistically as
much as possible. If it’s not even as much as a quarter of
someone’s position put it in a job position. Put marketing or
communications in a title. When you make that kind of commitment
then it helps justify, yes this is part of our work and we
should be spending some time here in creating a community of
I’ve heard before too that there are different levels of one
type or different levels of engagement. It’s one thing is sit
back and retweet everybody else’s stuff. And share what the New
York Times said about X. Another level is to create your own
content to be producing videos or blog posts or those sorts of
things where other people start sharing your stuff. That’s when
it gets really cool. That’s when you gain a lot of clout and
presence online. And sounds like the quality of Nathan’s
connection is sloppy. I’m sorry to hear that. [inaudible 17:17]
let me know. Lots of people [inaudible 17:19] but I’ll keep
going, hopefully it’s okay.
What does FTE mean? Full time employee or full-time equivalent.
So at this level hopefully you may have, not necessarily a whole
person but the .25 is a quarter of a person. You’ve got somebody
who kind of owns this as a real part of their job.
No hashtag that I’m aware of unless you want to make one up. I’m
glad it’s cleared up. Thank you for the other answers to the
All right here we go. It’s also integrated offline. So on your
offline material you’re putting your Twitter handle, you’re
putting the little F and the T on there. If you’ve got…in your
email and your other pieces you’re showing the world that you
are modern and active online and they can connect with you
there. Maybe you’re going as far as to have the foursquare
sticker at the front door so that when someone comes in they
know they can check in on foursquare there. Foursquare is a
geolocation social media for those that don’t know. You also
hopefully by this point have advocates. There’s people around
you whether they’re volunteers or staff members or any of your
constituents that are also active online and they’re sharing and
they’re tweeting about you. You’re going to want to tap them
Hopefully at this point you also have a few more friends and
followers and you’re ready to raise some cash. Because I’ve got
two screens open, one doing the presentation and one doing the
chat I will not be watching the hashtag for the time being but
will after so try to throw your questions in the chat room
So depending on where you are in your fundraising
sophistication…oh sorry let’s back up and do this. So UNICEF
this week, they put out a video on YouTube which is very
compelling, you can Google that. But this is the image they put
in their version of the U.S.A Today. Their national newspaper
they put out a full-page ad that says like us on Facebook and we
will vaccinate zero children against polio. They’re reminding
everybody about slacktivism. The idea that people say, I can go
like the American Red Cross on Twitter and I’ve done my good
deed for the day, week, month, or even year. That is not
actually helping as much as someone could. So that’s why we’re
talking about raising real money to help real causes.
So when we dive into campaigns if you think about traditional
fundraising rules, those don’t change. Just the media does. For
those of you that may not have a strong background in either
fundraising or sales, in the fundraising world we talk about
donor pyramid. At the bottom of that pyramid you’re activating
people. So that’s still the same kind of concept. Take social
media to reach out to the universe to start engaging folks that
might be interested in your cause. As they move up that pyramid
or past those lines they’re hopefully engaging more, donating
more, to where they’re at the top of that pyramid and they are
giving you a gift of their estate and maybe they’re on your
board and they’re your closest friends and allies, if that makes
Next basic concept…we’re talking about relationships. We’re
engaging people and we’re making meaningful matches between what
they want to support and what we do as an organization for the
community. That hasn’t changed, we’re just going it online.
We’re not going cold calls and cold tweets. They’re not spamming
folks, they’re engaging in genuine conversation and connections
to try to bring folks towards your cause.
It works to other, in some cases, capital campaigns. If you’re
going to try to raise funds online you may not do an outright
feasibility study. For those that don’t know, a feasibility
study is where essentially before a giant campaign you interview
your top 30, 40, or 50 folks to see if they’re ready for this.
And to see if you organization is well known and thought about
well in the community. And you can get a much better sense for
the size of your campaign and whether it’s going to succeed or
Same rule applies here but only in the sense that you’re not
going to start a giant social media fundraising campaign if you
only have four Twitter followers and it’s yourself, your mom,
your mom’s friend, and your dog. You have to have a base and on
social media that means a decent numbers of followers and fans
and engagement before you’re really going to jump in and try to
reach out. It doesn’t have to be astronomical but you’ve got to
have some interaction and regular engagement.
You want to set a reasonable goal and of course this tip jar
rule is the biggest one. I think it’s most important. The tip
jar rule, when you walk into a coffee shop and order your
coffee, you look down and there’s a tip jar. If it’s empty, two
things are [inaudible 22:38] the tip? And two, you’re probably
going to think less of your coffee. The second version is where
you go in and you order a coffee and the tip jar [inaudible
22:51] and you’re a lot more excited about your coffee. It’s the
same coffee but you just have a different kind of understanding
and expectation. You’re going to be more excited about it. Same
is true on fundraising campaigns online. So all of you have seen
a thermometer, I’m going to jump rope for 47 hours and if you
sponsor me per hour that’s going to go to this disability
charity and that’s fantastic and if you’re the first one to
visit that online page on Twitter and they’re trying to raise
five grand…and you’re the first one there and they haven’t
raised any you’re going to be a little reluctant because you
don’t know if it’s going to meet the goal, nobody ever wants to
So if you can front load that tip jar. If you’ve ever worked at
a coffee shop you know that most of the dollars in the tip jar
often times are those of the staff. They throw a bunch of cash
in there so [inaudible] first. I know we’re spending some time
on this but this is a huge rule in giant public campaigns. It’s
like colleges and universities, nobody goes public until they
have at least 50% in the door because of the confidence factor
and that psychological barrier that can be there if they’re not
at least at 50%. [inaudible 24:05] You also have to have the ask
ready, you know what tools you want to use, have some
influencers lined up but watch for these things as we dive
through…sorry I’m reading the…the pauses a little bit and
let the audio come through a little better. Sorry I’m reading
the stream and there’s a few folks with audio issues so
hopefully this is recording and the audio is good but I’m happy
to make it available.
So we’re going to dive into some actual campaigns that have done
well and some that have failed. True stories. Seven of them. So
worked with an organization that needed six digital cameras for
summer camp [inaudible 25:00]. Tweeted that a couple times, got
some retweets, posted a couple times on Facebook, what happened?
Yay. You can laugh and cheer and that’s fine, I can’t hear you.
Bu they had success. They had donors actually call. One
committed online and one called. Then there’s a follow-up
because we know that’s usually important. They sent them the
copies of the first pictures taken with a thank you note from
So why did that super simple campaign, tiny organizations,
limited online presence, but it worked because it was very, very
easy. It was tangible. They know exactly what the funds were
going to go for. It was a true need. And granted, that
organizations they probably could have dipped into the budget to
pay for that but now they don’t have to. And they can use those
other funds to pay for things that are maybe a little less
attractive or easier to fundraise for, if that makes sense.
That’s kind of the low end, very basic, started campaign. But I
encourage you to give it a shot.
So this is a guy on Twitter. Those of you that are tweeting you
can seek him out tell him that Nathan is talking about him. But
he’s very active in the community, he does a lot, he’s kind of a
local radio and financial planner local celebrity. He has a good
following and what he occasional does sometimes on his own and I
wonder sometimes if organizations prompt him, but he tends to do
a lot affiliated with the sports teams because people rally
So back when the tornado hit Oklahoma he said, hey for the
Pacers playoff game tonight, our Indiana NBA team, I’m going to
donate a dollar a point for Oklahoma tornado relief, who’s with
me? For a couple hours before the game he would tweet and
encourage folks to come in at a quarter a point or 50 cents a
point or…so he finally gets up to 10, 12 bucks a point and if
they score 100 points that night, that’s a lot of money. So all
these people are trending in and he’s done this pretty
organically. He’s done it for several organizations and other
organizations are starting to get the hint that it’s possible.
So I encourage you to run this concept by, it’s very, very easy
there’s not a ton of strategy around it except for finding
someone with a decent bit of following that’s maybe a local
celebrity in your community or [inaudible 27:34], rally around
something that other people are excited about. Be it a local
sports team or some other thing that you can essentially take
pledges per points and it becomes [inaudible 27:29] because then
he’s tweeting to a dozen people who have all chimed in together
and they’re at nine and a half dollars a point and who’s going
to get us to ten? Then a big wig sees it.
So in this case, this is now several years old but he did a
similar campaign to paint that a cancer network [inaudible
28:20]. Around Colts points, our pro team here in the city. And
all in a row the colts stepped up and did 100 bucks a point. So
I said to him, I said, let’s try donations with those folks. And
now you’re also on the radar of that person and that person has
now essentially endorsed your organization publicly. Just a
note, if your questions on Twitter are longer than I [inaudible
28:39], I’ll try to address it here in a little bit.
So I hope it makes sense. Even some of the easy, real basic ones
that if you’re just getting started, these are very, very
possible. Okay, [inaudible 28:54] Indianapolis based one. So we
hosted the Super Bowl a couple years ago. Everybody in town was
trying to get a piece of the action because all sorts of
celebrities are coming, there’s all sorts of visitors with good
hearts and some money in their pockets so tons of nonprofits
were trying to get interviews or on TV or all sorts of things.
We decided with this organization not to until the Thursday
before. We came up with this idea that we should [inaudible
29:23] these people that are around. This again, was a homeless
kid’s organization and they have a shelter up the street. This
is going to involve a couple of different tools. This is a
little more sophisticated but not much.
So we run a blog post asking Jimmy Fallon to come up the street
to meet the kids. We did a search of celebrities that were in
town. We looked them up on who had a heart for homelessness and
kids. Turns out of all of them that were coming in for the Super
Bowl Jimmy Fallon was the best match we felt like. So we wrote
the blog post asking him to, he was performing or doing a show
right down town in the circle at the theater, and it’s just
[inaudible 30:06] blocks away. Say hi to our kids, it’s a two-
We put a blog post up so we used a different additional tool in
this case and to try to give it a hook, we asked people, we said
if you retweet this message and help us get Jimmy’s attention,
if it all works out, we’ll pick one of you to come meet him too.
Pretty cool, so now there’s something in it for me. We sent
directives, so for those that aren’t as familiar with Twitter, a
directive is a private message. We went that to 30 influencers.
30 people that had decent followings and had interacted with us
before to some extent. They ended up recruiting 35 tweets.
And did it work? Wa, wa, no. No, it failed miserably. Why did it
fail? Well, it was a saturated weekend. But this ratio direct
message to Twitter is really important. So when something goes
viral, you want to contact one member and you want to get as
many reactions, clicks, and retweets out of that effort as
possible. Only like one to one as it was in this campaign it’s
not going viral. It reached one person and they’re getting one
reaction. So at a great campaign, you’re recruiting one person
because you hope they recruit 5, 10, 15 or 100 people to do
that. That’s why it’s important to craft that message. In this
case we knew it was a stretch. We didn’t plan it very well; we
threw it up on a white board in ten minutes.
And to be frank it was not really needed. So remember how those
cameras were pretty tangible for a digital arts summer camp for
kids, that’s obvious. In this case if I really asked myself
about it, it was self-serving. Not that I’m a huge Jimmy Fallon
fan but what was it actually going to do for the kids?
Hopefully, they’re not up really late watching Jimmy Fallon. So
I think some people may have maybe saw through that.
Let’s move on to another campaign. So there’s a company in town
that was doing an internal service contest, this is where it
gets a little more…yeah it’s more complicated, yeah it’s more
complicated and more tools but it gets a lot more fun. So they
wanted to do a contest internally amongst several groups. So a
group picks this particular organization to work with and we
wanted to either collect uniforms or raise funds for uniforms.
So school uniforms for homeless kids that could not afford them.
So I set up the first giving page. We also [inaudible 33:05], we
had a visual art display. We had engaged some other students
that put little cutouts of kids, 3000 of them on a giant line to
remind folks how many kids are homeless in Indiana. We put
collection boxes in the hallway, we created a little video. We
also asked them to donate their email signatures, so this is a
large company that’s emailing several times a day and in that
email signature if there’s a tag in there about this campaign
that’s going on and what they’re doing, they’re not starting to
engage their customers, their friends and family without ever
trying very hard.
So we set up this page, First Giving. There’s a lot of different
third party social fundraising sites like Fundly and First
Giving and some of your CMS systems like Black [SP] Tapestry and
even Bluegrain [SP] may be doing some of this kind of stuff
soon. There’s a lot of these and no one is the greatest I would
say. They all have different features that are going to work
best for you campaign but good to sort them out and take a quick
look. So in this case it was another tool and so it looks like
we didn’t meet our goal but we actually did. It was 5,000 and
what I like about First Giving is you can change the goal. So if
they hit the goal, they raised about seven grand right away and
blew the goal out of the water so of course, being a fundraiser
I upped the goal. So that’s another tool you need in your tool
This is another type of a campaign. So this is pretty very basic
in what you can see on here. There’s a guy named Bob Laken, at
this point he was a CEO of a big company in Indianapolis, so he
had a little bit of clout and publicity around him. And he’d
saying, get Bob to 5,000 followers and he’ll donate $10,000 to
the zoo. Right there you’re playing off social media, you’re
playing off the following of Bob and Bob’s friends. And that’s
really, really easy. Bob is the only one that actually
[inaudible 35:12], all you’re doing is following him.
So it’s a real easy ask. If you’re just getting started with
this, you’re trying to ask folks to follow you or donate their
follow Friday to you, where people essentially suggest other
people to follow. This one’s easy. So if you can find a donor of
yours already or someone you think wants to donate and/or
they’ve got motivation and they want to get big on Twitter
quick, this is the way to do it. So if you talk to your board,
maybe some folks that have some influence and some people, maybe
even in their own company keeps inviting them to get on Twitter,
this is a great way to get on Twitter, get some exposure, build
some following pretty quickly, and do it all for a good cause.
Hope that makes sense.
So when you’re doing this right you’re engaging folks. That
second bullet, we talked about with the tip jar a little bit but
that to me is the one that’s the most important. You need to
make it look organic and that’s an oxymoron but you need to prep
this stuff, have private client conversations, let people know,
hey I’m going to campaign from February 10th to the 17th about
loving puppies around Valentine’s Day. Here’s a couple things I
need you to do and I’m asking about 30 people to commit to doing
that at that point.
So you get a street team and you get some buy in in that regard
and you’re creating that organic virality. You’re making it look
like it’s a huge deal when it’s online even though you’ve been
working maybe for even for a couple months on the back end to
make sure it looks good. [inaudible 37:00] easy, can be
complicated. You’ve only got a few characters and a few seconds
to get attention. You don’t want folks to reach out too far. You
want to know it’ll work and if it doesn’t, it’s okay. I am not
an expert or a guru. This stuff is so brand new. It’s still
brand new. No one is a social media fundraising expert. We’re
all just [inaudible 37:23] so far.
So let’s talk briefly, I know there’s some question and we’re
only at 1:35 or so, so we’re going to fly through this stuff.
Few more things and we will have some time for questions, I
promise. A lot of people ask about these contests because most
of them do come down to likes or votes on Twitter I want to
address them for a second in that selection is key.
So all these organizations, or all these contests…I do know
folks that have won three out of the four…but the feedback
around some of them was it just took a lot of work for maybe not
much return. Yes, Denise, I think you can give a choice but we
can talk more about it later. So these contests, [inaudible
38:24], we made a conscious choice to pick the Toyota contest.
Because here’s the thing, all it really cost us to get started
was a pair of [inaudible 38:35] took me maybe five minutes to
figure out what this organization could do with a car. I sent
that in, then they picked finalists and only after you were a
finalist did you have to engage your network.
So a lot of these, especially with the companies trying to get
likes and followers and hits and engagement, they’re going to
let everybody spam their network on their behalf. And it’s not
going to do much good for you and your network if you’re bugging
everybody that donates to you already and volunteers to also
vote for you on Facebook. Twice a day for a year and you’re
going to win a bunny rabbit. I’m sorry you can hear the sarcasm
in my voice but a lot of these can be tough and you have to make
a tough call. So if only when you were finalist you had to
engage your networks and even then they said up front that you
will not compete against organizations that are much larger than
you. They’re going to put finalists together in like sized
So budget sized. It is going to be apples to apples and this is
going to be a fair fight. Because I’m sure a lot of folks sign
up for these contests and think they’re going to try to win
something or cash or whatever for their organization but they’re
outgunned in a heartbeat from the giant organizations with
[inaudible 40:00]. So suffice it to say dig in, make sure these
things are worth your while when you sign up for them and some
of them are. And for this organization we won a car. A $50,000
vehicle that did a wonder, a lot of good for this organization.
But you got to do your homework.
Social gaming. So these are…might be overwhelming to some of
you…but this one was designed by a college student and it took
off. So it’s free rights, it’s still active now, I think they
ended up donating it to the world food program but it’s a simple
vocabulary game and as you do this rice drops into the bucket
and it’s paid for via ads and it was literally designed by
somebody that I’m sure is down the street from you and you
[inaudible] can do it too. And for whatever reason simple and
people were doing good by playing an engaging game.
Here’s another one. I don’t know if there’s anybody on the call
from the Durham Marriot but you may have seen this. Essentially
they’re trying to help you understand what it’s like to be
homeless so this is a homeless shelter, I think it’s a
predominant program of theirs and it’s a quick game that asks
you, it’s almost like a choose your own adventure. It asks what
you would do with the money. Are you going to drive your kid to
school or are you going to buy lunch for your family? And it
pretty quickly helps you recognize the tough choices that people
make in these situations.
And then of course, as you can imagine, you run out of cash
really quickly. Now where this, my understanding is,
went…sorry…lots of people saw it but not a lot of people
donated afterwards. So you really have to think through that
process. If you do have something that’s catchy and viral like
this, how are you making sure you convert those visitors to
All right, so we’re going to rock through this [inaudible
42:14], we’ll try to do this in about ten minutes if we can.
This is the bonus part. This is where you cheat; this is where
you raise tons of money without having much of a following. IN
this case, you don’t have to read all that and I apologize if
anyone’s offended but essentially a comedy blogger threatened
another comedy blogger for stealing his stuff and demanded
$20,000 in damages. And so this guy says mailing this guy, I’m
going to send a picture of his mom and I’m going…you got to
learn you don’t mess with comedians…and I’m going to try to
raise the money and send it to these great organizations
Again, I apologize if you’re offended by the picture. But look
what he raised. $220,000 because people found this entertaining,
humorous, they jumped on it. And granted this comedy blogger
probably had a decent following, tons and tons of people chimed
in. Those organizations, National Wildlife Federation and the
Red Cross I think probably…I doubt they had anything to do
with it. Maybe they had a [inaudible 43:37] they had a
relationship with this guy but the more you can engage folks
that have these networks the more they’re going to think of you
when something like this happens that they want to do. We’ll go
on to one a little less offensive.
So this one was in the UK. Little girl, I think Martha Payne I
believe is her name. She started posting pictures of her
[inaudible 44:02]. Started a blog called Never Seconds, with the
idea that she was never ever going to go back for seconds at
lunch. So somebody got a hold of this, thought it was cute it
started going viral. She’s cute, entertaining, and fun. Don’t
ask me why, at her age, she has a Twitter account and a blog
account but it worked. A few big food bloggers and celebrity
chefs get involved. She decides she wants to raise funds and
take advantage of it to help kids that need food. So she
[inaudible 44:41] and blows it out of the water. 1600% of goal.
For what is…I would imagine Mary’s Meals is a small food
charity in her area.
And look at the 113,000 pounds. I don’t know what the equivalent
is but that’s a lot. I don’t know if Mary’s Meals had anything
to do with it but they may have seen it or someone that’s close
to Mary’s Meals may have suggested it. [inaudible 45:13]
Here’s, I think a last one that we’ll share. I’m not sure if any
of you recognize this person. Her name’s Karen Kline. This image
may…I’m not going to play the video but if you haven’t seen
this, this is a woman who’s essentially a bus monitor. And this
video is of her being picked on. On the bus. Kids are [inaudible
45:40], all sorts of stuff. It is horrible. It just, you watch
it and you want to cry. It’s just really unfortunate what
happened. And so someone turned that into a campaign. They said
let’s give Karen a vacation. She deserves it. Because millions
of people are seeing this stuff.
So someone jumped on it, saw an avenue to do some good and they
raised over $700,000 instead of a $5,000 goal. What’s even
better in this case, my understanding is Karen did take a
vacation. She, I think, paid for two of her grandkids’ college
fund. And I think at 10 or 20 grand a piece and she donated the
rest, way over half a million dollars to an anti-bullying
charity. How cool is that? What’s even cooler, I don’t think you
know who this guy is. He’s the complete stranger that set the
fund up for Karen. Come on, if your heart’s not happy about
this, it should be.
And this is really cool stuff that’s happening all the time and
here’s how it works. You’ve got to be ready for it. You’ve got
to watch for those things. Make sure that the people connected
to you are watching for those, and at the right time
appropriately leverage them to benefit your cause. If that makes
sense. You don’t have to necessarily have a press and media
following, you just got to opportunistic and see that intense
human emotion and turn it into action. So we’re going to…if
that’s all right…Steven and…
Steven: Yeah, that’s great.
Nathan: It’s 1:46 and you guys you’re got to not argue with the
microphone but maybe take them over the chat?
Steven: Yeah, we’ll just take them over the chat. Definitely a lot of
questions were sent in especially on the second half. I think
those seven case studies really sparked some discussion there so
why don’t we jump right in, I know you saw Jillian’s question
and it was a little long so I’ll just read the whole thing.
She’s wondering, do you have suggestions on cultivating
followers on Twitter? I know we don’t struggle with what to post
but she feels her reach is too small because they don’t have a
lot of followers right now and she’s wondering, maybe how she
can boost her follower count there so, Nathan, maybe you can
start out by giving folks some tips of getting those first
followers or maybe increasing what they already heave.
Nathan: Sure, so a couple things. I would, one…I would be tweeting
right now and follow and engage with everybody that’s following
this conversation. I do think Twitter chats are a great way, if
you search Google for…if you’re a humane society or a pet
charity, Google pet hashtags. Hashtags and Twitter chats are a
great way to find people who should be following you and connect
with people with like-minded stuff.
I also think it’s usually important to, early on, it’s okay to
ask for followers. It’s okay to put that in your email, your
signature and then your email marketing. Say we’re on Twitter
and make that the lead story. Don’t just drop it at the bottom
where nobody’s going to see it. Announce that you’re on Twitter
if you’ve been on there a lot and encourage people to engage
there and you can also…those that do follow you…send them a
direct message and ask them to donate their follow Friday. The
follow Friday is a pound sign or a hashtag FF and it’s on
Twitter where people suggest others to follow. And if you ask
everybody that follows you to donate their follow Friday, and
maybe half of them do it…and you have to send these in direct
messages, you don’t just tweet once expecting everybody to do
it. And then keep track of who follows you the next week and ask
them to do it.
So block out an hour on any Thursday, shoot some direct messages
out to those that think have the highest following and most
engagement with you and ask them to donate your follow Fridays.
We did that for one organization for about three months and it
took us from zero to a couple thousand pretty quick.
Steven: That’s great. There was a follow up question to that. What
about your current donors. How do you get those folks to follow
you on Twitter? So the question isn’t necessarily about Twitter
in a blog sense but getting donors know that, hey we’re on
Twitter, we’re posting things, you should follow us there. What
tips would you have for engaging donors you already have?
Nathan: I think it’s helpful to share donor stories and [inaudible
50:41] when you share stories beyond the blog about a donor.
That donor and a few other folks that do donate are going to see
value in that. I think putting it on the materials. When it’s
time to reprint your business cards put your Twitter handle on
your card. And everybody you see, they already have your card,
but tell them that this is a new one and add that on there and
start to understand…you could just have that conversation add
that to….those fundraisers when they’re out talking with the
donors they’re coming back with three, four, five new pieces of
Add that to your list of questions. Are you on Facebook and
Twitter, is that important to you? Are you engaging there and if
so, now you’ve got an advocate. You already know they love your
stuff. Then tell them what you’re doing. Ask that they keep an
extra eye open for your stuff and they comment and like and
retweet. Now you’re moving that advocate online.
Steven: Yeah. I actually received a direct mail piece recently from an
organization I support and it asked me two questions which I had
never seen before and they really make a lot of sense. It asked
me if I would rather receive less direct mail and more online
communication and it asked me for my email address.
And then the second question was are you on Twitter and if so
write in your user name. And I thought that was really
interesting and a couple days later they followed me. So I think
what you said is completely true. You can ask your donors, hey
are you on Twitter, do you want to communicate that way and just
let them know, hey we’re on Twitter too, go ahead and follow us.
Nathan: Right and I would also…on most of your Twitter management
tools, meaning like retweet you can create lists. So I would
create a list that’s called donors. It’s not public so they
can’t see it. You want to make sure that it’s a private list.
Because then you can watch. You can watch and see maybe your
donors and board members and those sorts of folks that are
engaging regularly and you can retweet their stuff when it’s
appropriate, even personally or professionally. So you’re
engaging them and supporting them, and they’re going to support
Steven: Right. Hey Nathan, would you might digging in a little bit more
into Twitter chat and maybe explaining how those work
logistically and how people can take advantage of them?
Nathan: Sure so a Twitter chat is essentially a designated time where a
bunch of people who care about the same thing get online and
talk about it. For example, there is one called fund chat F-U-N-
D-C-H-A-T. And that’s a hashtag. So, again, hashtags are a way
to index Twitter. It’s almost like a keyword so you can track
all that conversation. So you’re jumping on fund chat Wednesdays
at noon and at this point sometimes there’s a 100 fundraisers
that are sitting there at noon eastern on Wednesday eating their
lunch and talking about a particular topic. This most recent one
But in that sense of a Twitter chat, you’ve got 100 people that
all care about the same things, they’re all having a really good
conversation. It’s like going to a conference sitting at your
desk. And there are bazillions of those Twitter chats out there
and I’m sure there’s one about your cause or something related
that you should be engaging in. So if you are an afterschool
education organization there is Edu chat…I mean Google
Education Twitter chat there’s tons of them. I’m sure there’s
one on afterschool programming.
So find what’s related, jump in, and what that really means
then…I usually use retweet to do it but you’re following that
hashtag, you’re chiming in, you’re answering questions, you’re
saying hi to people, you’re talking to folks, you’re offering
resources if you happen to be an expert or have something to
share on that topic. But then you’re creating community online
and those people are going to follow and engage with you.
Steven: Yeah it’s just a nice way to meet people on Twitter who are
interested in the same topics as you are. And I see you have
chats every once in a while, you’re tweeting away to folks and I
can tell you get a lot of good engagement there.
Nathan: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.
Steven: So, here’s a really interesting question from Jillian. It’s a
really, really good question and actually I had someone ask me
that this morning. And she’s wondering, what do you think about
bridging the age gap. So half of our donors are older and
they’re not using social media and the other half is because
they’re tech savvy and maybe younger. So how do you divide your
strategy to include both demographics?
Nathan: So in mass communications where you’re speaking to everybody,
the social media stuff is usually an oh by the way because if
you lead your appeal and you’re talking about a picture you put
on Instagram and 90% don’t know what that is, you’re going to
lose them. So for mass communication where it really goes to
everybody is going to be an afterthought or a PS or something
like that for the most part. And that’s okay. But one thing I
saw an organization do that just worked like gangbusters for
them is they literally hosted a social media training seminar
for their donors.
Nathan: And they marketed it to the older donors who were [complaining]
to them to say, hey we know you’re on this, you already have a
relationship with us, we’re happy to teach you. And if you can
be the person that really educates someone on something or
you’re there, you facilitate a true growth, now they can
interact with their grandkids on Facebook they’re going to
always [inaudible 56:52] and always thank you for that. And
you’ve done a real service to them. And plus now they’re online
and they’ll follow you.
Steven: Yeah. And it’s interesting. I saw a statistic recently that
those sort of age paradigms or maybe assumptions are kind of
shifting. I read that Facebook’s largest growing demographic or
fastest growing is actually age 50 to 65. So those older folks
who we thought weren’t going to be on social media and not going
to be engaging with your nonprofit that way, that may change.
And conversely teenagers aren’t using Facebook at all, they’re
not even joining or signing up. They’re going straight to
Twitter or Instagram or some of these other newer platforms. So
it’s kind of interesting how that’s sort of shifting and I think
that nonprofits need to pay attention to what’s going on rather
than just assume, oh I’ll send direct mail to the older crowd
and I’ll focus on digital for the younger. That may not be the
case in one year to five years down the road.
Nathan: Right. Right, right, right.
Steven: Well good. I think we’ve got time for probably one more
question. Angela has a pretty good one. She’s wondering how much
time should you spend on this. How much time should you devote
to Twitter today? What about using Instagram, how much time
should you focus on some of these other fringe or smaller
networks? What would you say for someone who’s trying to divide
up their time and focus on what matters?
Nathan: So I try to limit it to…I mean you’re going to spend a little
time setting things up if you don’t have that set up in terms of
your accounts and [HootSuite] to make sure it’s working
efficiently. But I try to do about 10ish in the morning I’m
scheduling tweets, I’m reading blog posts that have been posted
overnight and that morning and I’m putting content out there and
I’m scheduling it so it’s going to look like I was active all
day when I’m not, I’m actually doing my other work.
And then I’m going to check in on it for just a couple minutes
at lunch and once in the evening just to make sure that nothing
big is going on that I should be engaging in. You also want to
responsive. So if someone does mention you, I would encourage
you having it set up to see in your phone so you can chime back
and asked the question. But otherwise you’re not hanging out on
it all day. It’s a very selective dive in and engage and then
pull out sort of strategy.
On the Instagram thing…I think whatever’s natural for you. And
I know it’s probably not the answer you want. You’ve got your
phone on you at an event and you snap a good photo, post it or
pull yourself aside for just a second or sit in the car right
after for just one more minute and upload it and share it.
That’s okay. I think a lot of people that really push social
media will tell you don’t have an intern doing it because
usually they interpret that as it not being a priority for the
organization. I’m fine with interns doing it it’s not going to
get done otherwise. And you trust them, you’ve had some initial
training conversations about what you’re going do and not do and
it’s a little bit of strategy. They’re more savvy on it than the
rest, so I really am okay with that. They usually have a ball
and you’re surprised at the number of followers they engage.
It’s all their friends and they’re really good.
Steven: Great. Well we’re just about out of time, we’ve got maybe one
or two minutes left and Nathan, I want to give you a chance to
let folks know how they can learn more about you and maybe
connect with you, hopefully through social media for sure. So
where can folks learn more about what you’re up to?
Nathan: So it’s on your screen, my Twitter handle Nathan underscore
Hand if we already interacted online I appreciate it. That is my
personal email and I do a lot of this stuff, I’m happy to help
best I can. And then I also write a blog on some of these
nonprofit issues, social media and otherwise. At
nonprofitnate.com and [01:01:19 inaudible] you really ought to
[inaudible 01:01:22] this Twitter stuff. And I know that’ what
we focused on most today. If you Google nonprofitnate Twitter
boot camp there’s about five posts walking through, signing up,
setting it up so that this is efficient and effective for you
and you don’t feel overwhelmed. And I’ll [inaudible 01:01:43]
those top sites, yeah Facebook, Twitter. I would add Instagram
and Foursquare I think.
Steven: Yeah. Okay great. Well, Nathan, thanks again for joining us,
this was really great content. It was really just a joy for you
to lend an hour to Boomerang and to everyone else. Hope you had
fun, I know I did. And to everyone listening, thanks for joining
us again. If you liked this webinar, if you’ve been on other
webinars of ours in the past we’ve got three scheduled for
November. We try to do them once a week. They’re purely
educational. Check out boomerang.co and click on resources and
you’ll find those webinars, you can register for those.
Totally free and I know Nathan likes that the webinars are free.
I know sometimes folks charge for those which is a little weird.
And we will send out the recording and the prezzie link to this
webinar. So look for an email from me a little later this
afternoon. So with that I’ll say thanks and have a great rest of
your day. Bye now.