Is social media, online fundraising worth the effort for nonprofits?

Is social media, online fundraising worth the effort for nonprofits?

Christine Cupaiuolo is a friend who knows a lot about social media and online technology. (She’s a blogger/journalist/editor who helps nonprofits with their social media strategy). I recently sat on an AFP panel on donor engagement, and asked Christine to share some resources that will help answer the question: How do you decide how much time and resources should be put into online, social media, and mobile fundraising efforts? She provided some great resources that I wanted to share with you.

But before we answer the question of how much effort, we should probably answer the question: Should we put any effort at all into online fundraising? The answer seems to be a very loud yes! Although online giving is a small share of the total dollars nonprofits raise, organizations continue to experience growth in this area. See this December 2012 Chronicle of Philanthropy article for more information. Other research shows that overall online fundraising revenue increased by 19% from 2010 to 2011 (2012 eNonprofit Benchmark Study).

But, when we have limited resources, how much staff time should be dedicated to online fundraising, and what about social media? According to Christine, the answer depends on things such as...

What your donors are like in terms of age and smart phone ownership. How do they usually find and interact with you?

How successful is your direct mail program? Your email program?

Does your organization already engage (and engage well) on social media?

Do you have the resources to make online and mobile giving options easy for donors to use?

A few articles worth scanning as you consider those questions:

Online Fundraising Dazzling, but Nonprofits Need to Stay Balanced

Fusing Mobile Fundraising with Email & Social Media Outreach

Five Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make in Their Online Fundraising Campaigns

The Axelson Center is featuring a session at its upcoming Symposium (June 3-4, 2013) on a similar topic. Mike Dockum and Scott Kolbe from Sikich will walk attendees through, "Fundraising with Social Media: Is it worth the effort?"

The first person to comment on this blog will receive a free registration to the main Symposium day on June 4 (a $250 value!).


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  • Love this article! thanks for all the links to others too. This is good ammo for me to go to my boss to justify SOME time online. Thanks!

  • Thanks for the comment. I will send the information for your free registration for Symposium.

  • Just this morning I agreed to run a nonprofit's first annual fund drive. As such, I find this article extremely helpful. Thank you.

  • In reply to johnpseudonym:

    Thanks for your post. Glad to be able to share resources with my fellow nonprofit folks.

  • In reply to Christa:

    Say hi to Doug for me!

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