Monday, January 31, 2011

Five Ways to Boost Donations in 2011

 #1 Get more donors through social media
As philanthropy (advancement) professionals at healthcare systems, universities and nonprofits plan for higher levels of giving in 2011, it’s a great time to assess where new funds will come from and what these new donors need to know.
This series of five blog posts will review a range of appeals and report on best practices, based on news, my views (professional and personal) and research.
Social media will increasingly become the way to raise funds among donors who don’t need “cultivation” by development (advancement) professionals. These gifts typically are in the range of $5 to $50 and are generated through stories and appeals made to friends, family members, colleagues, alumni and neighbors on various social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) Survivors tell their stories about overcoming breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, leukemia, addiction or other illness. Supporters become actively involved by registering for a rigorous walk, bike trek or mountain climbing adventure to help fund a cause.
Based on these personal appeals, motivated readers are directed to make a donation to the organization’s online fund. If the site also offers the option to mention the donor’s name and gift amount, that provides donor recognition and spurs additional donations from those who view the list and recognize friends, family members and others. The utility of using PayPal or credit card payment for online giving is a must. An automatic “thank you” receipt generated online is a great finish to this program. The whole process is fast, efficient and effective.

As an organization, make it easy for your supporters to use social media to tell their story. Include a widget on your website, develop an app, seek followers for your social media sites and conduct online surveys to elicit stories from beneficiaries and supporters. Go beyond the “like” button. Ask for input. Invite questions. Engage potential donors by asking them to take one action (then another and another) toward support of your organization.
Who does this best? In my view:
• Leukemia & Lymphoma Society  - compelling patient stories via e-newsletters
• Susan G. Koman 3-Day (for the cure) - sponsor sign-up & participant registration
Share your thoughts on these or other organizations that know how to harness the power of the web to draw in more donations.

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