Helping Nonprofits Communicate

message. solicit. impact.

Facebook Likes = Potential Donor? Nope. Sorry, Charlie.

We know how important social media is to help build community support, be easily accessible, and quickly and efficiently share your successes and relevant upcoming information.  Often organizations sprint to social media as the shiny penny that will fix the problem.  If you haven’t properly set goals for your social media it’s possible you look at your pages this way: We have 8,000 followers. If every follower donated $1 we’d be set! Money should just shoot into your ‘donate now’ account, right?


What we feared about donors is now black-and-white real:  social media support does not translate to any sort of NEW donation. Period.

A study done by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business was simple, yet telling.  First, they asked people to engage by supporting a charity online (liking it on Facebook, following it on Twitter or Instagram) and then asked them to donate money.  Did people donate?  Nope.  The Daily Mail writes that the “giving public endorsement satisfies the desire to look good to others, reducing the urgency to give later.”

According to the study:

“Our research shows that if people are able to declare support for a charity publicly in social media it can actually make them less likely to donate to the cause later on.”

What does that mean for your organization? With the holidays coming up, maybe it’s best to make sure your efforts are headed in the right direction for year-end appeals: cultivating donor relationships, corporate alliances or holiday gifting opportunities.  One colleague, Marc Pitman, recently wrote about another idea to encourage ‘passive’ giving from your slackivist communities.  It’s called AmazonSmile.  Check it out.  Start writing those holiday emails and reaching out to the community who knows and loves you in person.

Social media has its place and cultivating new donors is not it’s function.  Always good to know. Isn’t data wonderful?  Helps you make sure you’re investing your time in the right places.

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