Funds for All & All for Funds

Welcome to my blog! I'd like you to consider this an interactive space for sharing information, successes, ideas, strategies, and links to help us all raise more funds for nonprofits.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Social networking and nonprofits -- a good match?

When raising funds you can get desperate, and that's when the newest thing can sound so sexy as to pose a single solution to all your nonprofit's fiscal woes. But new technology often just masks old problems like a deteriorating donor base, confusion between p.r. and fundraising, and a diminishing donor renewal rate. Whether you communicate with your donors and prospects online, in print, or on television or radio, one-way communication is passive. Direct marketing principles of engaging the reader hold true in any medium. Social networking can be simply direct mail in a spiffy new envelope, if you approach it as doing the same old things a letter does.

When social networking and the new interactive media become powerful is when they connect to build momentum of visibility and heighten interest in your cause. Linking new technologies and old can help your organization gain dynamism by increasing the number of times a prospect or donor becomes aware of it and sees something to interest her or him.

Want to harness the power of online media to your nonprofit? Make them all work together. This is a rather absurd example -- a micro-example, if you will -- but I have a blog about poetry (, if you must know) from which I can tweet using a nice little program called Tweetboard, meaning I never have to leave Blogger. Once I've blogged and tweeted to drive people to the blog entry, I go to Facebook and use their Links mechanism to bring my FB friends to by blog. So Twitter and Facebook friends all know that I've added a new entry, and briefly what it's about. On top of that, I add an announcement on an 800-member listserv I belong to, with the links. It doesn't sound simple, but I can do it all in under 30 minutes. That means it could be done daily, or certainly weekly. has a nice article about using social networking to support your nonprofit cause. I urge you not to think of it as a panacea or replacement for the conventional guidelines of good, old-fashioned fundraising, but as new tools in the fundraising toolkit. The more tools, the better built the house will be.

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