Everyone knows the first rule of using social media as a promotional tool: produce good content.
And the second rule follows close after that one: promote good content.
These rules bring followers to your page and make your online presence a valuable resource.
Marketing through social media is key to attracting support to your organization. But how can you convert those followers into donors through social media?
The answer is engagement!
The key to creating active donors from passive followers lies in how your organization interacts with and encourages its followers on social media. So how can your organization make sure that you’re engaging with followers and creating supporters?
Here are our favorite steps to encourage followers to become donors on social media:
- Embrace easy online donation strategies.
- Tell your nonprofit’s story.
- Plan and schedule your social media posts.
- Advertise your offline fundraising efforts.
- Actively engage with your community.
By taking these tips and adapting them to fit your organization and community, you’ll be sure to find a supportive donor base amongst your social media followers.
1. Embrace easy online donation strategies.
If you want your online followers to become online donors, you need to offer a variety of ways to give online. Embracing online donation strategies makes it easy to take your fundraising efforts with you, wherever you go.
The first step to making online donations easy and accessible for everyone is to ensure that the donation form on your website is mobile-optimized. Social media is primarily accessed through smartphone apps, so your donation form needs to work on a smaller screen!
Some best practices to follow when designing a mobile-optimized donation form are:
- Limit the number of pictures and videos on the page. They slow downloading speeds.
- Only put the fields that are absolutely necessary to complete a donation. Unnecessary steps will cause donors to drop out of the donation process.
- Embed your donation form directly into your website or keep it consistent with your branding so that donors feel secure when donating online.
Once your online donation form is up to snuff, it’s time to think about what kind of fundraising campaigns will engage people online.
Our number one choice for inspiring people to give online is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. A peer-to-peer campaign puts the fun of fundraising right into the hands of your existing donors.
Your team helps individual donors set up customized donation pages, your donors share those pages amongst their friends, and then the games begin! Peer-to-peer fundraising is great for encouraging new donors on social media because:
- The donation pages are easily shareable through all kinds of social media, so geographic distance isn’t an issue.
- The pages are individualized to each volunteer fundraiser, so potential donors are encouraged both by the cause and by their friends’ support for the organization.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is easily gamified through leaderboards, badges, and thermometers, which engages more people through the fun atmosphere of friendly competition.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to get social media followers engaged. Even those who can’t donate money are able to share the posts and help your campaign raise awareness!
One last online donation strategy to help encourage your followers to become donors is text giving tools.
Mobile giving allows donors to text a number specific to your organization and be sent to a simple and easy-to-use donation page. This strategy is mobile-friendly, simple to use, and encourages those without a lot of time to give what they can, when they can.
To find the right online donation tool for your nonprofit, check out this guide to the top online donation tools from Qgiv.
2. Tell your nonprofit’s story.
Your social media feeds are probably already filled with informational content about your cause and reposted articles from others in your field—after all, an important part of any mission is education.
But are you telling your nonprofit’s story through the most effective content writing tools?
This isn’t just the story of the cause or issue that inspires your nonprofit’s mission—your social media should be a place where you can keep followers updated about your own specific projects and successes.
The whole narrative of your nonprofit includes your founders, your team members, and the community you serve. So include these aspects when posting to any platform.
How can you communicate your story to your followers in a way that creates an emotional connection between them and your organization?
- Post success stories. With so much negative news on Twitter and Facebook these days, let the work your organization does be a bright spot on your followers’ feeds. Include ongoing projects, happy constituents, and steps forward in these posts.
- Use visual storytelling. A picture is worth a thousand words, so include high-quality pictures and videos in your posts to demonstrate what your nonprofit does in the real world. Media focused on people (like your team wearing your 5K race shirts from your last fun run!) is especially effective.
- Provide transparency about your organization. More people refuse to take companies at face value than ever before, so prove that your organization is accomplishing the work that it says it is by posting updates, images, and reports from your team.
Allowing your followers to see the truth of your nonprofit and its narrative will inspire loyalty in your mission and establish social trust. Both of these are vital to encouraging followers to become donors.
3. Plan and schedule your social media posts.
The best content in the world won’t inspire your followers to donate if it’s posted at the wrong time! It’s incredibly easy for a good post to get swallowed by an influx of other posts, so do a little research to make sure you’re posting at the optimal time.
The easiest way to do this is to plan your posts ahead of time and schedule them to be posted. There are a variety of free and paid software tools that you can use to help you with this, so consider some options and choose the best one for your nonprofit’s needs.
Planning posts ahead of time also gives your social media strategist the opportunity to strike a balance between the types of posts you put up, while considering their length, content, and target audience.
When planning your posts, consider the strengthens and weaknesses of each platform.
Instagram is the champion of visual posts, so pictures and videos with informative captions are the best way to inspire viewers.
The limited length of a Tweet lends the platform to brief calls-to-action, links to longer content hosted elsewhere, and reminders and updates.
Facebook’s event-planning capabilities are great for posting pictures and videos, and reminding supporters about upcoming events.
Don’t forget to consider the demographics of each site: different types of people use different sites. Applying what you know works for those demographics to your planned posting can go a long way for increasing engagement.
4. Advertise your offline fundraising efforts.
Reminding your followers that your nonprofit is active offline is an important part of piquing their interest in your projects. It can be easy to get wrapped up in your online community and forget to remind them about what your nonprofit does.
Use your platforms as ways to advertise for your offline fundraising efforts, as well. Using unique fundraising ideas and promoting them effectively can do wonders for your event turnout, your volunteer population, and the success of fundraising campaigns.
If you use your social media as a way to demonstrate how awesome your fundraising events are (like any of these ideas from Funds2Orgs!), you’ll be sure to inspire your online followers to become offline attendees.
How can you leverage your online presence to strengthen your offline fundraising?
Actively invite your most engaged followers to fundraising events. If they frequently interact with your posts but haven’t RSVP’d to an event, consider reaching out to them personally and gauging their interest in getting more involved!
Invite those who post about your cause or other philanthropic missions to join your team for volunteer events. A strong volunteer recruitment and management strategy is vital for any nonprofit!
Discuss and advertise specific campaigns. Explaining the individual project that a fundraising campaign benefits can help online supporters feel more connected to the work that your organization does and encourage them to get involved offline as well!
Your organization can’t survive with just online or just offline advertising techniques, so make sure that you merge your strategies to achieve the best result possible.
5. Actively engage with your community.
If you’re not reaching the levels of engagement that you want, and posting on social media feels more like shouting into the void than starting a conversation, don’t be afraid to make the first move.
Followers may feel like your organization doesn’t actually care about their response—how much can an organization care about an individual person, anyway?
The secret is that it’s not your organization running a Twitter account. It’s an actual thinking, breathing person.Making the first move can be daunting, so here are some easy, low-risk ideas:
- Tag followers in polls and questions. Respond to their tweets or posts or status updates first, and engage them in discussions about a shared mission or interest.
- Retweet or repost others’ content and comment on it, especially if it’s something that includes your organization or mission.
- Ask for questions and start a podcast! Podcasting is more and more popular, so get in on this growing industry to help build a more engaged audience.
- Direct message potential social media ambassadors, and offer to send them free merch like t-shirts if they’ll promote your organization or content to their followers.
Creating a friendly, approachable online persona is key to strengthening relationships with potential donors and building trust in your organization.
Finding donors on social media may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Starting conversations, posting engaging content, and being strategic with your posts can take your nonprofit’s social media strategy to the next level.
Guest Author: Abby Jarvis
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.