Beyond Friendraising with Social Media

Earlier this year, a nonprofit social media specialist remarked that organizations must instill passion in their social contacts before asking for their financial support.  And that passion might take as much as one to two years to emerge!

Is this courtship in the 19th Century or fundraising in the 21st?

Social media networks are just new pathways to communication.  And people today aren’t a new species.  If we don’t wait two years to pop the question in real life, there’s no reason to wait for some magical passionate moment to invite people to participate in our most cherished work simply because we are using Facebook or Twitter to talk.

Fortunately, nonprofits are moving beyond mere engagement to solicitation and in that process elevating social media usage from a mere marketing platform to a place to actually conduct business.  This is better not only for organizations themselves since they can now prove the value of the social media investment but also for prospective donors who are finally being taken as seriously as those we invite to invest in our work via mail, phone and face-to-face.

But making this leap isn’t easy.  Organizations need role models, success stories and best practice cases.

This week I will be collaborating with Jennifer Darrouzet of Convio on a webinar addressing this very subject.  The webinar, entitled “From Time Waster to Moneymaker: Turn Your Social Fan Base into a Fundraising Community,” benefits from insights of fundraisers around the world who are monetizing our most important communication channels.

In preparation for the webinar, I conducted brief interviews with two extraordinary nonprofit leaders who are an example to other nonprofits looking to use social media to build communities of support.

One is with Victoria Miller, President of the Trisomy 18 Foundation, which supports treatments and preventions of Trisomy 18, a condition affecting 1 of 1,500 pregnancies, and is creating a caring worldwide community for affected families.  The other is with Carie Lewis, Director of Emerging Media at The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization and a major social media force as well.

Here are those brief interviews:

I look forward to hearing your reactions to Victoria’s and Carie’s observations and to the other stories we’ll be sharing this week!


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