It’s no secret that fundraising and development is at the heart of every nonprofit organization. Nonprofits do incredible work to support those in need, and none of it is possible without funding. Over the years, trends in fundraising have shifted quite a bit! While traditional events like benefit functions, bake sales, or silent auctions are still strong options for nonprofits, the rise of the digital age has unlocked an entirely new playing field of opportunity.
Social media apps are on the phones and computers of the majority of our world, and often visited multiple times per day. One might argue that social media and nonprofit organizations don’t have much in common, but we’d beg to differ. We’ve compiled seven creative ways to harness the power of social media to aid in nonprofit development and fundraising efforts. Read on for our best tricks and tips for nonprofits.
1. Social Media Challenges
Many nonprofit development efforts have found success through the use of social media challenges. Do you remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? In August 2014, the ALS Association launched their social media challenge, where an individual would dump a bucket of icy-cold water over their heads and then challenge three friends to do the same, or donate to the ALS Association. The nonprofit development movement spread like wildfire across social media and raised not only awareness, but $115 million dollars within the eight week period that the challenge was hosted.
Your nonprofit organization can harness the power of social media challenges too! First, take into consideration the heart of your cause, and a few simple challenges that could be related to it. Next, take the time to develop easy and clever marketing slogans for your challenge. You’ll want to create a signature hashtag for the challenge, along with a key phrase explaining what the challenge is and why it’s important. Then, create the official set of rules that folks can copy and paste to their social media posts when they share the challenge. After that, set a release date and spread the word about your nonprofit development challenge and see where it takes you! Bonus tip: many nonprofit organizations make their social media challenges an annual occurrence to build support.
2. Virtual Marathons
Many of us have heard of or even participated in a marathon or 5k for a charitable organization. But did you know that there are ways to host a virtual marathon with the same results? It’s true! When you host a digital marathon, participants will sign up and pay the registration fee just like a normal marathon event. You can even send them their event package and race number in the mail to help the nonprofit development event feel more real!
On the set day and time of the digital marathon, all participants will run their race- in the location of their choice. That means that no matter what city or state they are in, or whether they are indoors or outdoors, everyone can participate! The only stipulation is that every participant needs to time themselves and post their time after the race to determine the winners. There are some handy apps like Strava that work great for timing and posting the run times. Digital marathons are an excellent way to cut down on overhead costs while increasing involvement and funds raised for your nonprofit’s development.
3. Snapchat Filters
Snapchat filters can be used for more than just making silly faces. These days, there are many different types of filters, ones that simply promote a cause, host an interactive game, or share a link to a website. If you’ll be hosting a nonprofit development event, consider creating a Snapchat filter to support it. Snapchat allows users to submit their designs for specific dates and in certain geographic regions.
Keep in mind that there is a fee associated with your request and that fee may vary based on the location and date that you’re in need of. It’s also recommended to submit your Snapchat request well in advance to ensure that it will be processed and approved in time for your big day of fundraising!
4. Social Media Walls
If you’ll be hosting an in-person event like a benefit gala, marathon, luncheon, or other nonprofit fundraising and development event, set up a social media wall to make guests feel more connected to the cause. Social media walls can be created using the Juicer social media aggregator.
The aggregator tool creates a single, beautifully designed social media feed that combines content from multiple platforms. It can also collect posts from your event guests when they use a signature hashtag of your choosing. The social media wall should be displayed at the event so that guests can see their photos, well wishes, and comments of support contributing to the wall of positivity! Be sure to create a few signs, and make an announcement about the social media wall and the special hashtag guests should use to be featured.
5. Raffles and Silent Auctions
In the same way that you host a raffle or silent auction at a live benefit event, you can host a similar nonprofit development fundraiser through social media. First, take appealing images of the items up for raffle and design a set of graphics for each one. In the social media post caption, you can outline the incredible prize up for grabs and details about how the social media silent auction event will be run. You can then link to a form where patrons can place their bids on each item, or enter the raffle for the chance to purchase the prize package.
To make this experience even more interactive, consider hosting a live video stream on Facebook and Instagram of your nonprofit development team as they host the event. Consider wearing themed outfits, and putting up colorful decorations in the room where your team will be hosting the social media silent auction to make the video interesting to watch! Even though the patrons aren’t there in person, they will feel more connected to the event and your cause when they see real folks running the event.
6. Digital Garage Sales
There are so many traditional in-person fundraising and development events that can be so easily virtualized! Have you ever considered hosting a garage sale or bake sale online and through social media? Harnessing the power of social media for these types of events helps to expand the circle of potential donors, increasing the likelihood that all items will be sold, thus raising more funds for your nonprofit’s development initiatives!
There are several ways to set up a digital store or sale. If you want to keep things simple, consider using an existing platform such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or an app like VarageSale or OfferUp. If your sale involves items that aren’t as straightforward as furniture (say, if you’re going the bake sale route), you can create a simple form within the Google Suite to help folks understand the sale and submit their requests. We would also suggest making plenty of graphics to share on social media to promote your nonprofit development event and showcase the items up for sale!
7. Video Campaigns
Video content is king in the modern marketing world. Consider the ways that your nonprofit development campaign can get creative with videos to promote your fundraising efforts. Video is special in that it allows viewers a more detailed and involved look into what your organization is all about.
Many nonprofits will do a series of videos highlighting the different individuals who benefit from the donations being given. Others will show a behind-the-scenes look into how the nonprofit organization is run, how an event came to be, or a play-by-play of the accomplishments made due to the donations. Another idea is to find a humorous and entertaining link between your nonprofit development campaign and pop culture or current events. Folks will be more likely to tune in to your video if it truly entertains and delights them, and then will be more open to hearing your organization’s message.