Social Network Fundraising Methods

Everybody is talking about this concept, yet few people understand what it means. The basic tenets of social network fundraising (sometimes called “friend-raising) and how it works (using the technology described in the Online Fundraising Tools section) starts with your nonprofit having a goal. To achieve it, you create a campaign tied to a special event, virtual event, petition, tribute, memorial, personal event, etc. You then communicate that goal to your constituents so they can tell everyone that they know personally. They are passionate about your cause and are eager to help in fulfilling their mission. Using the social networking tools, they can create a webpage that describes your goal and their passion to help you achieve it. Web 2.0 technology enables them to do this easily – they simply fill in a template, add some personal photos, and they can have a compelling webpage that matches your site.

There are many ways that they can get the word out. This includes emails, letters, graphical icons (widgets) on social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace, blogs, their websites, a YouTube video or just old-fashion face to face talking. Their social network wants to help your constituent because of their personal relationship and they now know that achieving this goal is important to them.

The constituent’s social network is really responding to the constituent, not your nonprofit. Your cause is often secondary in the mind the constituent’s social network, and the new donor is not yet really a committed donor. However, you now have a possible “lead” or prospective new constituent that you can develop into a supporter. This means you’ll need to educate this person, ask them if they want additional information such as a newsletter, etc. With enough education and a “soft” touch, this person may then become a consistent donor that you can solicit without the original constituent.

Benefits of Social Network Fundraising

  • Empower constituents to recruit others to achieve your goals
  • Tap into constituent social networks to raise more money
  • Educate more people for action and advocacy of your mission
  • Reduce new donor acquisition expenses