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Here’s how holiday fundraisers are finding success through social media

Nonprofit organizations are always looking for ways to increase donations, and online awareness efforts via social media are a consistently excellent way to acquire new donors and retain established ones, raise awareness of causes and spread the word on fundraising events.

More and more nonprofits are establishing accounts across various social media platforms in an effort to reach more people and drive donations, especially through the holidays.

The Giving Season
The holiday season is statistically a giving season in terms of nonprofit donations. Approximately 30 percent of charitable giving occurs in the month of December alone, with a solid 10 percent of annual giving taking place during the final three days of each year. People are generally more willing to give to organizations over this time frame, and nonprofits are wise to increase social media campaigns during this season.

Who’s giving, and how much?
Statistically speaking, women appear more giving than men in their fundraising efforts by generating an average of 64% of charitable donations. Even in times of economic recession, philanthropic efforts have remained. Americans donated approximately US$335.17-billion in 2013, marking the fourth year of increased giving. Even when people are unable to give monetarily, they are more than willing to give their most valued resource: time.

The internet’s impact on philanthropy
With the advent of the internet, nonprofits and their philanthropic efforts were given an astounding boost across several areas. Not only did online formats create easier platforms for donating cash from the comfort of one’s home, but it also increased awareness of causes via crowdfunding and social sharing. As an added benefit, social networking platforms are free, so organizations don’t have to spend money on awareness efforts via these channels.

The millennial generation’s impact on fundraising
The millennial generation is an impressively generous group, and its impact in terms of social media fundraising cannot be ignored. Seven out of 10 young adults consider themselves social activists, and half of millennials donate their time to charitable causes. Since this generation is especially connected via social networks, they’re more likely to support causes showcased via social media.

Emerging trends in social media fundraising
Giving Tuesday is one trend that has undoubtedly demonstrated the philanthropic benefits of social media campaigns. Launched in 2012 as a simple hashtag-driven reminder of charity – #GivingTuesday – the effort managed to generate a whopping 90% increase in online donations between 2012 and 2013.

Social media tips for nonprofits
Nonprofits are smart to utilize social media fundraising, but should be aware that some methods yield higher success rates than others. For the most effective fundraising campaigns, consider the following:

  • Email campaigns can inspire people to participate in events, but they are simply not as effective in generating revenue. For every 1 000 emails sent, a nonprofit averages only US$17. If email campaigns are used, the ideal range of emails sent per month falls between six and 10 for the most impact.
  • Sharing meaningful stories and pictures of previous endeavors reaffirms an organization’s mission and inspires people to give.
  • Establishing accounts across numerous platforms is the prime way to reach more individuals. Facebook is the obvious choice with more than 1.15 billion users, but sites like Pinterest and Instagram offer high usage rates (70 million and 56 million, respectively) as well.
  • Utilizing hashtags and share buttons affords increased visibility, and including pictures with text posts is a great way to grab users’ attention.
  • Offering the convenience of online transactions makes individuals more likely to give.
  • Listing items and resources needed in lieu of monetary gifts allows more people to contribute in other ways.

Social media has opened the door to nonprofit fundraising work, and its usefulness is unparalleled in a technology-driven society. Applying social media strategies to fundraising campaigns is sure to earn more interest, Internet traffic and donations to worthy causes worldwide.

Image: Viktor Hanacek