Social Media Strengthens Fundraising Messages

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If you are sending out a fundraising letter and nothing more, you are missing out on many potential supporters.

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Studies like the Next Generation of American Giving Report show that all generations appreciate a mixture of online and traditional communications. The smartest nonprofits are those that use social media to spread the word and raise money.

One size doesn’t fit all

They realize that their supporters don’t receive and respond to information in the same way, and so they deliver their messages in multiple formats. I recommend an approach that hits all streams of communication. Messages sent by different paths reinforce one another and make for a stronger message and for a strategy that covers all the bases—and all the donors.

Let’s say, for example, the food bank you direct is having a fundraiser. Here is a comprehensive way to market it:

  • Send a direct mail piece well in advance to promote the event and your organization.
  • Promote the event, in different ways, frequently on the food bank’s Facebook page. You can create an event and invite all of your followers. You can post pictures of the preparation of the event. And of course, you can post reminders in the days leading up to the event.
  • Visually driven social media like Instagram and Flickr can drive create a buzz with carefully crafted images.
  • A survey by the Pew Research Center shows that 42 percent of online adult users visit multiple social networking sites. Choose several that seem to appeal your audience.
  • Send an email reminder about the event. Include a link to a YouTube video or a slideshow of photos from last year’s event.
  • Send tweets about the event to your followers; hopefully, they will retweet it and your potential audience will grow.

Don’t forget to say “Thank you.”

After the event, send a thank you, by letter or by email, or both, to those who attended. Let them know how much money was raised and how it will be used. Post photos and videos from the event on the food bank’s Facebook page. Provide a report about the success of the fundraiser.

And be on the lookout for new ways to communicate. Social media is changing fast; the best organizations figure out how to put new communication tools to work for them.

Make sure to check out our resource on donor acquisition.


Julie Thomas

Business Development

January 5, 2015

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