by guest blogger Andrew Rogers
Effective fundraising through social media tools like Twitter and Facebook is an elusive goal. It's possible to be tempted by exceptional cases (disaster relief, celebrity-endorsed campaigns by big-name charities), into believing "social" is all you need. But exceptions are exactly that. For most organizations, social media is part of a well-built donor-communication plan, not the cornerstone of it.
Bit by bit, though, smart marketers are finding new ways to put social media to work. The Hilborn Charity Info blog reports on one technique where Facebook has generated promising results: campaigns where donors approach friends and family on behalf of a cause (Facebook and peer-to-peer fundraising: pair them up to raise more money).
The post reports on 25 such campaigns in the US and Canada that found 15% to 18% -- in one case, 33% -- of donations came through Facebook. Additionally, donors who could log in to campaign sites with their Facebook IDs "raised on average 40% more than those who used traditional registration."
Earthshaking? Maybe not yet. Something to keep in mind? Sure. One key point is that social media was one element of the campaign, not the complete strategy. As more and more charities start to get a handle on how social media can strengthen their ties with their donors, we'll start to find more ways to make social-media fundraising success less exceptional.