The Power of Social Media for Fundraising
This is a guest post from Alison Richmond at easyfundraising.org.uk. Alison has worked in the fundraising industry for several years and enjoys discovering new fundraising ideas for charity.
Our modern world is plagued with unthinkable facts that we see and hear of those living in extreme poverty. The unintelligible statistics of 800 million people who don’t have access to safe drinking water, 3 billion people who live on less than $2.50 per day and 22,000 children who breathe their last breath daily, as a direct result of poverty. Something I discovered only recently numbs the mind; there are 100 million more people on Facebook today than there are getting clean water.
The power of social media today is an unrivalled tool for charities to reach the masses. If every registered user on Facebook were to give £1 to charity, uncountable lives would be spared. 98% of charities maintain a presence in social media and some incredible feats have been achieved utilising that power.
‘Child’s i Foundation’ is a charity which focuses on helping abandoned children, those orphaned or neglected. 25% of their donations come from their online sources and a recent campaign saw them raise £10,000 in 48 hours to save the life of four-week old Joey, left alone in a taxi park. Joey needed a life-saving operation to strengthen his heart and ‘Child’s i’ took to the internet to find the funds. After 250 donations and 38 hours (10 hours faster than they had allotted) the £10,000 target had been smashed and Joey’s life was saved, allowing him to swiftly recover and achieve adoption in just six weeks.
Child’s i used a ‘Just Giving’ webpage, an institution often used by fundraisers to find sponsors for their sporting events. Just Giving optimises the government’s tax relief Gift Aid and for every £10 donated, the charities receive £11.74. Just Giving has become synonymous with online fundraising and giving. The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability also launched a cost-free video campaign and hit their target in less than 24 hours without the use of a budget, donor website or film crew.
The beautiful thing about charities optimising social media is the aspect of sharing the load. Commercial companies won’t promote each other in the interest of protecting their brand but the inherent nature of charities allows them to endorse other organisations striving to achieve the same effect. Water Aid’s Twitter page periodically links out to other charities such as EndWaterPoverty, Third Sector and even individual philanthropists.
But the activities don’t stop at the big hitters like Facebook and Twitter. Many charities maintain online blogs, within which they publish regular updates on the result of their charity work. By allowing the end users to see positive results of their altruism, they keep their givers engaged and promote further donations. Those who have yet to donate can also see directly what they could be achieving. The innovation extends to websites offering PPC (Pay Per Click) models which afford the charity a donation based on the cost-free activity of an online user.
In essence, social media provides a previously missing middle platform between charities and donors. In the past, the satisfaction one could glean from philanthropy would come from within or from the thanks of a telephone operator. It hadn’t yet been possible to document the direct actions of fundraising and get that information to the masses in a simple and efficient way. By following your chosen charity through social media; you can experience the effect of your actions, increase the power of your benefaction and network all of your contacts into the fight against poverty too.