The role of social media in non-profit fundraising

  • Social media can be a lot more effective for non-profit organisations than you may think.

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    According to a study by a consulting firm for non-profits, "Growth in social media audiences far outpaces that of email".

    Amongst 55 large non-profits, research found that email lists only rose by 14% in 2013. However, Facebook audiences increased by 37% and Twitter audiences by 46%, Allvoices reports. 

    Also, the study found that for every 1,000 email subscribers, non-profits had an average of 199 Facebook supporters and 110 Twitter followers.

    Further research from the Centre for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth reported that from 400 major charities, 98% use at least one form of social media. YouTube had first place at 97%, followed by Facebook at 92% and Twitter at 86%.

    It is clear to see that social media is very useful, if not essential, in helping them to raise awareness and receive donations.

    The Centre stated, "Even though generating donations is not the primary intent of their social media use, it is essential for their organizations to raise money".

    Even though most of these studies focus on large non-profit organisations, other research has shown that size is not an important factor in terms of social media fundraising. Generally, it seems that people do not seem to take as much notice about how large a non-profit organisation is but are more influenced by the ‘social media effect'.

    This is an effect motivated by the size of an organisation's network of followers or ‘fans' it has, according to researcher Gregory Saxton.   

    It has also been discovered that non-profits which support health related causes are more likely to succeed in social media fundraising than others are.

    A key example of this is the ALS Association's Ice Bucket Challenge which went viral last summer. Numerous famous celebrities got involved and the campaign managed to generate $220 million in donations.  

    This was one of the most exceptional social media fundraisers of 2014 and highlights just how significant social media is in the world right now.

    Although email is still a dominant form of fundraising, the power of utilising social media to raise money and awareness for non-profits cannot be ignored.

    No matter how small or large your non-profit organisation is, social media definitely needs to be part of your ‘fundraising toolbox'. 

    What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions

    This blog post has been written by our sister company The Media Bubble who specialise in social media for the social sector. 

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