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How to Cheat at Nonprofit Fundraising + Get Away with It

Marcella Vitulli

Fundraising is a huge job at any nonprofit. No matter the size, legacy, or cause, all nonprofit organizations dedicate endless time + resources to soliciting donated dollars.

That got us thinking: is it possible to cheat at nonprofit fundraising + get away with it? If so, social fundraising might just be the ace up your organization's sleeve.


better nonprofit fundraising emails


Social fundraising became popular in the early 2000s when we began to realize the true organizing power of the internet + ideas like crowdfunding were born.

Although we've seen social fundraising success stories like the Ice Bucket Challenge + the recent Humans of New York post that generated over a million dollars seemingly overnight, the question remains: how can social fundraising boost your nonprofit's fundraising efforts?

To find out, we looked to one of our favorite shows, How to Get Away with Murder, and created this step-by-step best practice guide to making out like a bandit with the help of social fundraising.



Step 1: Get your story straight

The first + most important step in fruitful nonprofit social fundraising is to understand + perfect your organization's story

Why does it exist? Why are your supporters passionate about your cause? This identity should be clear + visible throughout your campaign.

Strength in storytelling gives potential donors confidence in an organization, its staff, and its work, and gives your current donors the material they need to make a great (and successful) ask.



Step 2: Connect with your sources

The true beauty of social fundraising is simple: potential donors are already emotionally and/or virtually connected to your existing donors thanks to social networks like Facebook. 

Whether their bond is friendly, familiar, professional, or even just digital, potential donors could relate better to a call-to-action from your supporters than they are with a cold call from your organization (sorry, you'll still have to make cold calls, but we have some tips to make them less painful!)



Step 3: Find the right tools for the job

Social fundraising encourages donors to share your nonprofit's story through the context of their experiences. Your job is to give them the tools to amplify their voices.

The right tool for your social fundraising campaign should integrate seamlessly with your accounting, reporting, and CRM software (we're assuming you've already integrated those because why wouldn't you? But if you're still working on that, we can help.

An important note: social fundraising can be a gift that keeps on giving, since you'll be collecting both donations + donors' contact information, allowing you to grow your own network.



Step 4: Take it personally

A social fundraising tool allows a donor to create a personalized fundraising page with a unique URL for sharing across his/her network.

Rather than just sharing a link to your organization's donation page (which may or may not suck), this personal touch puts your supporters front-and-center as advocates for your cause.

This lends word-of-mouth credibility to your nonprofit, but also highlights the efforts of your donors because, as we know, all the fundraising hacks in the world can't match the enthusiasm + support they bring to your organization.



Step 5: Play the game

If there's anything we've learned from Annalise Keating, it's that creating a little competition can be a good thing.

Social fundraising allows your donors to create goals, track their progress, and compete with their friends + fellow supporters.

This "gamification" can seriously motivate your supporters (especially if you're competing against other chapters or the national organization) and amount to some serious fundraising oomph!



Step 6: Keep your friends close

Lastly, the idea of a "social" campaign can make some fundraisers a little nervous.

Between making sure your donors stay on message + that all of the necessary donation details are being securely collected for reporting purposes, we know that you want to stay in control.

Social fundraising tools should allow you to oversee, monitor, and hold the keys to your campaign because, after all, it should be making your life easier, not harder.



Do you have more fundraising hacks to share or want to know more about social fundraising? Get in touch!

In the meantime, we're confident that if your organizations tries social fundraising for its next campaign...

tumblr_nj37mxpjLn1u0zx0ho1_400(All GIFs courtesy of HTGAWM.tumblr.com)

Topics: fundraising, strategy, social fundraising