Social Media for Nonprofits: 5 Ways to Increase Donations for Nonprofits

By Amandah Blackwell

Why do many nonprofits not leverage the power of social media?

While most nonprofits rely on volunteers, small- and medium-sized nonprofits rely heavily on them, with some being 100% volunteer-run organizations. Their preference is to use direct mail, flyers, and other offline marketing tools.

This is okay, but you want to balance your offline marketing efforts with online tools such as social media.

A graph of average donation through social media. 2010: $38. 2011: $55. 2012: $59

graph is from MDG Advertising

Why Use Social Media for Nonprofits?

Because social media doubles, triples, and even quadruples your exposure. It positions your nonprofit for increased awareness and donations, and it produces results.

How to Use Social Media for Nonprofits.

Engage with your target audience online. You have a better chance of reaching your audience around the world and not just organizations who are located in your physical area. It’s possible to find people and companies who believe in your cause, and they’ll want to help your nonprofit. But supporters can’t donate if you’re not taking full advantage of social media.

How to Use Social Media to Increase Donations.

What are the ways to raise money? How do you reach your fundraising goals? And how do you continue to increase donations via social media? To answer those questions, here are five best practices for using social media to increase donations:

1. Pin and post your wish lists.

Ask for donations on Pinterest by pinning items that your nonprofit needs and provide instructions on how to donate the items. For example, if your organization helps abused women rebuild their lives, your wish list may include career and casual clothing, children’s clothes, new towels and bed sheets, toiletries, gift certificates to grocery stores and hair salons, office supplies, etc. You could also add your wish list to Facebook (follow the above steps). Giving to your nonprofit organization has never been so easy.

2. Give updates via Twitter.

Don’t forget to use Twitter to update your donors about what’s happening in your organization. Have your CEO, President, Fundraising Chair, or Director of Marketing tweet during a fundraising event. Post updates about the event, maybe even a picture or two, along with a link to your nonprofit’s donation landing page. When people donate, tweet about it, and let donors know how they made a difference.

3. Test campaigns between Thanksgiving and New Year.

Create social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, etc. during key times of the year, such as Thanksgiving through New Year. Why? Because the end of the year is when people open their hearts and wallets and give to each other and nonprofits. It’s also when companies have their budgets set for next year.

“A national report shows that, on average, a nonprofit organization receives 41% of its annual contributions between Thanksgiving Day and New Year. In just 34 days, many nonprofit groups will raise almost half of their annual revenue,” says Tim Crum, CEO of Animal Shelter Fundraising.

Facebook gives you the option to boost or promote your posts, which means your posts will receive additional paid reach in the News Feed among fans and friends of fans, all with the click of a button. This is easier than creating ads through the complex Power Editor tool (use Google Chrome when working with Power Editor).

With the click of a button, you can create a Twitter Ad and promote your tweets and account. You can quickly reach current and potential followers (who might convert to donors), and build a community of followers, advocates, and influencers who will engage with and share your nonprofit’s message.

4. Hold contests throughout the year.

You may be thinking, “What type of contest should my nonprofit offer?” Using the example of a wildlife sanctuary, you could hold a Facebook Photo Contest such as, “Name this newborn lion cub.” For a donation of $10.00, people can enter to name the newborn lion cub. Tell people that you’ll announce the winner on Facebook and send the winner a framed photo of the newborn lion cub. Make sure your nonprofit’s name is on the photo frame and include a brochure and other marketing materials.

Another contest is a Facebook Quiz Contest where you ask your audience a question. This contest is different because you’ll give the winner a prize. Using the wildlife sanctuary example above, you could give the winner a calendar, sports bottle, stuffed animal, poster, etc. When you create the Quiz Contest, include verbiage such as, “Donate to (fill in the blank) and save/support (fill in the blank)!” and provide a link to a PayPal or another account. Not only will you engage with fans (and gain new ones), but you’ll also increase donations.

Hold contests throughout the year, but make them worth people’s time. Grab their attention with a snappy call-to-action, clear instructions, and a fun contest. Don’t forget to engage with people when they comment on your contest. Answer questions in a timely manner.

5. Use an online fundraising event like Crowdfunding.

An online fundraising event can raise a ton of money and supplies for your nonprofit. You can use apps for Facebook such as FundRazr, a crowdfunding tool. You can share the app via Facebook, Twitter, email, blog, or website (or all of these).

FundRazr is easy to use. The first step is to create your campaign. Next, share your FundRazr campaign on social media, eBlast, blog, or website. Finally, raise awareness and money quickly and securely.

After you’ve used social media to increase donations to your nonprofit, review and analyze data such as virility of posts, events, campaigns, and contests. Make adjustments where necessary, and test different elements such as calls-to-action, images, color schemes, etc. You can use the above to increase donations via social media throughout the year. Just sit back and watch as donations are sent to your nonprofit organization from around the U.S. and world.

Maximize Donations Via Social Media Today

Nonprofits that use social media to leverage their donations can do a world of good in a short amount of time.

If you’re already using one or more of the techniques listed above but are not getting the results you desire, take a step back and assess your strategy.

Don’t panic if you create a social media contest and it flops. Next time, set up an A/B split test to see which version of the contest does better. Pay attention to color schemes and copy. All it takes is one minor adjustment and – Bam! – donations will be sent in no time.

You don’t have to wait until the spring or summer to hold an event. Social media helps your organization raise money quickly all year round. This is not to say that you should toss out your offline techniques. Balance your online and offline efforts, and you’ll attract massive donations.

Social media may seem like a waste of time, but many large nonprofits, such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and others, have effectively used social media to raise funds and increase donations. By using the above techniques, your nonprofit can make a huge difference via social media.

There is more where this came from…

The best articles from this blog are available all in one place – our book. Now on it’s 6th edition.

Content Chemistry, The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing, is packed with practical tips, real-world examples, and expert insights. A must-read for anyone looking to build a content strategy that drives real business impact. Check out the reviews on Amazon.

Buy now direct $29.95