Social Network Fundraising Technology

For an understanding of the “social network fundraising” concept, see Social Network Fundraising Methods. This section discusses the type of technology available to enable nonprofits to harness the power of social networking for fundraising and other purposes.

Social network fundraising tools enable your supporters to encourage others (such as friends and family) to support causes they believe in (such as yours). Typically, this involves a system that makes it easy for a donor to create a personalized web-page that explains why they have a personal interest in the non-profit’s mission, and provides a simple method for allowing someone to make a donation or pledge or take other actions such as registering for an event, signing a petition, etc. Social network fundraising tools also make it easy for the supporter to send emails with a link to their page, and provide links via the MySpace or Facebook pages.

Social network fundraising tools can be used in conjunction with sponsored events like Walk-, Bike-, Run-, and Dance-A-Thons, but it can also be used for capital campaigns, workplace giving or supporter-driven fundraising. Board members, volunteers, and committed supporters are typically happy to have an easy and efficient way to share their passion for your mission.

Some other potential uses include:
  • “In Honor of”, tributes, or memorials
  • Donations in lieu of gifts for a party
  • Virtual events (tied to a specific goal, holiday or recognition)
  • Promote a dinner, banquet or other event, (including a link to a registration form)
What to look for:
  • A solution that fully integrates with your fundraising database so that donations can be recorded, acknowledged and reported on with minimal data entry or administrative effort.
  • Ability to use your own credit card merchant account so your nonprofit’s name appears on the donor’s statement. This helps eliminate donor confusion that can occur if their credit card statement includes a transaction from an organization with a name (e.g. giveonline.com) that they are unfamiliar with.
Features your organization should have:
  • Control look & feel of constituent web pages
  • Approve content and allow/disallow comments
  • Restrict usage and control security rights
  • Monitor success of goals by campaign, team and/or individual
  • Manage web traffic statistics with third party software (e.g. Google Analytics, Click Tracks, etc.)
Features your constituents should have:
  • Step-by-step web page design templates for easy creation
  • Easily convert donor web pages to blogs and message boards
  • Built-in communication tools to invite others to their web page
  • Personalized widgets link other websites to their web page
  • Create teams that allow constituent captains to invite others to create their own web pages
  • Post goals & progress via text and visually appealing graphics
  • Allow visitors to make comments/voice support
  • View fundraising goals and donor page statistic reports so constituents can manage team and individual progress