Wednesday, May 06, 2009

How to Use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for Advocacy and Fundraising

In March and April I discussed the boring stuff you should do before starting with Social Networking and getting started/how to develop a network. Now here is the part that everyone wants to know about – fundraising and advocacy on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The previous post is an excellent slide show about fundraising on Facebook by Mike Ames. I totally agree with Mike – You can use Facebook to fundraise but don’t waste your time with Causes. You can see the statistics in the slide show and make your own decision. There are a few success stories with Causes but the fact is that those campaigns were run by top social media experts with very deep networks. If you have one of those people working with you then by all means consider using Causes. Otherwise, follow Mike’s step by step advice to build relationships and then go for fundraising using your Facebook page as a base. You can use the same approach to build awareness and advocacy.
See Mike Ames Blog

Twitter (and Facebook)
Once you have followers, then you are ready to begin fundraising on Twitter. The first and easiest way to use Twitter is to promote your events with a link to the information. This is especially useful for Arts events and informal drop-in no advance reservation needed type events. Have just one or two tweets a couple of days before the event but have 3 or 4 the day of the event. In addition to the basic information on the website change up or add a story every day for a few days and then your tweet can have something new to say. “Creating Buzz” is an essential skill for effective social networking.

Younger people give less and like to give to smaller campaigns that provide a sense that their donation matters. Structure your campaigns to them if they are your Twitter followers. Remember the whole campaign is 140 characters. So the Tweet would be something like “For every 100 people who donate $20 this week we can send 10 kids to summer camp In July see pics on website (link to website donation page).” Promise and deliver the feedback.

Use Twitter to encourage what I call “Celebration Giving.” Twitter people sometimes ask for donations to a particular cause to celebrate their birthday or other major milestone among their Twitter followers. Then they post whenever someone contributes. This also works with Facebook pages. The link on Twitter can be to a Facebook page – it does not have to be to your website. Check out some sample Facebook pages that you can recommend as examples and Tweet about them. This is the real power of social networking - not just what you do but what you get others to do for your organization.

A good way to promote advocacy on Twitter is to follow the major national organizations who provide leadership in information and advocacy and retweet their key messages to your followers. This is simple, not time consuming and effective. I follow a number of individuals and organizations with excellent advocacy messages and my knowledge, interest and likelihood to give to those causes has been greatly increased.

There are two important features to remember about LinkedIn. You must join as an individual – not an organization and fundraising is against the terms of service. However, you can build an impressive network on LinkedIn and also reach out to those not in your immediate network. You can send a message to your whole network (Be very careful to not abuse this – LinkedIn does monitor reports of problem members) and you can post in Events. My favorite way to reach people on LinkedIn is to join groups (You can start one too) where you can start and participate in discussions. You can use groups for advocacy, to promote events and to find volunteers and Board Members. LinkedIn can be a valuable networking resource.

This is just a getting started article. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Social Networking for fundraising and advocacy. Follow me on Twitter and invite me to join your network on LinkedIn. This completes this series of articles and next week I’ll be blogging on a different topic.

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