Viral Fundraising Tips for your Nonprofit!
Surrendering Control: 6 Steps to Harnessing Viral Fundraising for your Nonprofit
If you're sitting at your computer hugging your organization's mission statement, branding guide and/or special event brochure (the one that was approved by everyone in your office, your board, your babysitter, etc...), it's time to take a deep breath - this idea might scare you!
It's time to turn your message over to your constituents.
That's right: let your supporters spread the word for you, outside of your direct reach. People are most likely to donate to a cause if asked by someone they know. Unless you personally know everyone in your town, city, state, country, etc., you need to call in the big guns: your Wired Fundraisers. Wired Fundraisers come in two varieties: passionate supporters who happen to use social networking (also known as Web 2.0) tools to spread the word about their favorite cause and people who use these tools who have turned into fundraisers. In order to take full advantage of social networking opportunities, you need to develop a plan to find your Wired Fundraisers, empower them with your message and let them use their social networking tools to fly solo.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
1. Focus your social networking presence.
Don’t try to establish a presence on every social media tool available. Pick a primary outpost and focus your efforts on building a strong presence. Whether you choose Change.org, Facebook, Twitter or set up a blog. It's better to have a strong presence in one network than to spread your organization too thin across all of Web 2.0.
2. Search for potential supporters.
Search the Change.org network, Facebook Causes or Twitter profiles for a nonprofit with a similar mission as yours. See who their "friends" are and invite them to your cause once you're up and running. Here are some examples: TransFair USA on Change.org, Campaign for Cancer Prevention on Facebook and GlobalGiving on Twitter.
3. Make it easy for supporters to find you.
Your supporters are going to look for you online, so make it easy for them to do so! Name your social networking page exactly as your organization is named. Again, have a strong presence in one channel rather than all of them. (Better a potential volunteer or donor can find a compelling blog post than miss all your pages because they are spread thinly across many networks.)
4. Cultivate your community.
Once supporters of your cause have found you, make sure you give them a strong call to action and a reason to stay engaged with your organization through social media and beyond. You need to make your supporters feel like part of an ongoing conversation about issues that are relevant to them – and to your nonprofit. A community is not about you the organization: it’s about you the collective supporters of a cause.
5. Find your Wired Fundraisers.
Having Facebook friends isn't enough - you want to find superactivists who will champion your cause and spread your mission. This requires cultivating one-on-one relationships with a few key supporters who can become megaphones for your message and recruit their networks to take up your cause.
6. Plug your Wired Fundraiser into great resources.
Empower your Internet superstars to share their connection to your cause with others through their blogs and social networking sites.
- Help supporters create a good badge or widget to promote on their sites and social networks
- Create an area of your site with starter text, images and video that supporters can repurpose
- Keep supporters aware and updated about matching grant campaigns and contests
- Make it easy for supporters to share and tell stories; making it personal is important
- Thank supporters for their dedication and hard work!
Learn more about Wired Fundraisers in our report - The Wired Fundraiser: How technology is making fundraising “good to go”