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"S" stands for Success in Social Media

Posted by Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who...
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on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 in Freeman Blog

Article by Valerie Austin

There has been plenty of publicity on the benefits of using the various social media for fundraising, but probably the one thing that most people forget is that the message needs to be targeted in order to work successfully.

Two examples come to my mind, which demonstrate how successful social media can be when there is an issue that donors identify with - whether it be for charity or as an activity that individuals want to participate in.

The first was when a supporter of "Afghan Heroes" created a Facebook page to tell her followers that she wanted to ride through Royal Wootton Bassett when her local bike club was "throwing around the idea of a bike run" - 15,000 bikers turned up! At £5 per entry - fundraising income £75,000 - expenditure £0!

The action of putting up a Facebook page reached an entire community of bikers as contacts spread the world within their network. They were drawn to support the event as it fulfilled two important criteria - they would be doing something they really enjoyed, and at the same time demonstrating their support for a worthy cause.

The second was a success for social media, but the desired result was not achieved because the charity acted too slowly. This particular charity had a number of places available in the London Marathon, but no-one to fill them. Now places on the London Marathon are really hard to come by if you are an enthusiastic runner, so what was going wrong?

The charity I speak of regularly uses social media, and in fact had been successful both in raising awareness of their causes, and obtaining corporate support. In this instance again they advertised the available places amongst their own Twitter followers, on Facebook, on the website - but it was the wrong audience, no takers.

Then on the weekend of the application deadline one of the team mentioned the available places to a physical exercise coach at her gym, he spread the word via his Twitter account and within hours 14 people had been in contact to register their interest. Unfortunatley it was too late, as the marathon organisers would not accept their names beyond the deadline date. The charity has lost out to approximately £15,000 of fundraising income!

So the moral of this story is, it is not enough to be using the social media to make a success of your fundraising campaigns - you need to consider with every campaign whether you are reaching the correct target audience. Sometimes your own regular supporters are not the correct audience!

Finally, making social media fundamental to your fundraising strategy does not have to cost the earth. The cost of having regular social media activity can be low compared to the income received and it is certainly low compared to the more traditional fundraising routes to market, e.g. mail shots.

And don't forget that every mention in any medium also increases the awareness of your charity!



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Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who could offer charities sound professional and practical advice for trustees and senior management.

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