I am regularly asked via Facebook to support causes, primarily through making donations. Peer to peer fundraising is a powerful and exciting use of social media when done right. It also has potential to be perceived as spam.
So what will motivate me (and perhaps others) to take that action step and donate? It’s actually similar to regular fundraising efforts, even though using a different medium for the ask. Here are some of my thoughts.
Tell a story. Chances are good that you are raising funds for a cause that is close to your heart and very personal. Share your story (or the story of your friend). If you connect with my emotions, I am more likely to be eager to help in any way I can. Tell me about the cause and the importance of it to you. Here are “Four Tips for Effective Peer-to-Peer Fundraising“.
Make the ask personal. While Facebook is great way to communicate quickly to a large group of people at once, a blanket message via your status update is probably not the most effective way to make the ask. It feels like a billboard campaign – very easy to ignore. Try instead sending a personal message to your top prospects. When to use your status update? To demonstrate updates on how you are progressing towards your goal and thank those who have already donated.
Harness the power of social media. Don’t neglect other ways people can give – by sharing your message with their networks. Because I do support a variety of causes, I may not be able to donate to your specific cause. However, I have something that could be even more powerful – a network of friends and family who can possibly help. Ask your prospective donors to help share your message and make it easy for them by creating an event, using photos or quotes, or other social media friendly items that can easily be shared. (If they provide valuable content – an inspiring quote, important statistics on your cause, etc. it’s even better.) Other tips at “How to raise funds for your nonprofit using social media“.
Think creatively. Ask your friends for ideas on raising funds and don’t limit yourself to the most basic “ask-give” model. What about a party where you collect donations? Or offering to bake cookies for certain levels of donations? (If you look at crowdfunding sites like kickstarter, you start to see that rewards can be very effective and don’t need to require anything particularly extensive.) Line up a larger donor but make it a match challenge, motivating friends to help in order to get the match. There are many ways to get creative with fundraising. Don’t limit yourself.
Remember tone and expectation. Ask, but don’t demand or you could create resentment. Remember that friends may not be able to donate for good reasons. Stay positive and keep in mind that even if you don’t meet your goal, it all helps. Feel and express gratitude for those who help in whatever capacity – even if it’s just an encouraging word.
Finally, I much prefer this type of awareness and fundraising to the “slacktivism” of “change your status update if you care about x” variety. Thank you to all you take the time to support a cause and demonstrate compassion to the world.