Recently we had a non-profit organization contact us for help with their Social Media. They are relatively new and wanted some tips on how they can utilize their social platforms to raise money for their organization. The organization, Urunji Child Care Trust, works to combat malnutrition and illiteracy by providing free meals and educational materials to underprivileged children in Malawi. They currently have a Facebook and Twitter account but have not done much beyond setup.

What do you think is the best social media strategy for fundraising? I can hear it in my head already, people saying “Social Media is about RELATIONSHIPS not a means to an end to raise money.” But through building those relationships, aren’t you setting the stage for those that want to help you?

Below is my ideal strategy for a non-profit starting social media from scratch with the objective to raise funds for their organization.

Research similar organizations that have been highly successful using social media. You won’t be able to tell how much money they have raised strictly through their social efforts but getting an idea of who their followers are and how they communicate their message will be highly beneficial to you in creating a strategy. Ensure you don’t stick to 1 or 2 platforms in this research stage.  You never know which may be the most receptive.

Don’t use huge organizations for your analysis unless you are a huge organization. If you are a little organization, by no means “think little” but be realistic. Organizations like WWF and Unicef may be doing fantastic things on social but don’t forget they have a big name that was well known before social and have massive marketing budgets.

Choose which platforms you are going to utilize. Ensure you don’t spread yourself too thin. Your organization most likely has limited resources and it is much better to do several things well than many half fast. You do not have to be everywhere. If one platform is all you can take on, only do one.

Communicate your non-profit’s objective through the platform (s). When you visit a non-profit’s social page, you shouldn’t have to read their mission statement to get what they’re about. It should be reflected in their images, their status updates, their videos, their responses to comments, etc…

Don’t ask for money on an ongoing basis but ensure the possibility to donate is there, easy to find, and easy to do. If you are set up with Paypal, I recommend adding a Donate button to your Facebook page.

Connect with the people that share your mission. Your primary objective here isn’t to find people with large wallets. It’s to find people that care about what you are doing, and will possibly share about it with their own networks.

Once you’ve connected with fans and built that relationship sharing your about your organization, then I recommend building a campaign for fund raising.

Create a campaign to raise funds. I say create a campaign because asking for money on an ongoing basis gets tiresome for your followers and create less of an impact. If you have dedicated fans that have been learning about your organization through your social channel and then you host a campaign, they will be much more likely to give to you then if you asked for money right from the get go. Keep your campaign short, with a highly specific objective (ie. We need $4000 to build a X or buy a X).  When you’ve created the campaign ensure that you are as transparent as possible. If the money was to buy new beds, post photos of you building the beds as a result of the successful campaign.

This not only builds trust between you and your followers but makes them feel that their contribution directly impacted the organization and increases the likelihood that they’ll give again the future.

Over the next week I am going to follow the above plan for Urunji Child Care Trust and create a strategy for them that will help them gain exposure for their organization and bring in donations through a campaign. If you have any ideas on how this organization can achieve their goal of building a social community or any ideas regarding a fundraising campaign, please leave it in the comments below. I’d love the community’s suggestions on this!

Also, if you are a charity or non-profit and you would like some help with your online marketing including social media please check out our heavily discounted charity marketing services.