How to Use Social Media to Strengthen Your Appeals
by Mike Montalto
November 12, 2020

What’s on your mind? If you’re like other fundraisers, you’re probably thinking about multi-channel communication strategies more than ever. And is it really a surprise digital strategies are at the forefront of almost every fundraising campaign in today’s socially distant world?

But many organizations have more questions than answers when it comes to supporting appeals with social media. For example, you may have asked yourself if fundraising on social can be truly effective, or if it is better as engagement tool.

Or maybe you’re not sold that social media is right for your organization.

But did you know, according to Nonprofits Source, 55 percent of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action? That’s an amazing stat! Think about it.

The year-end fundraising push is coming up fast. And organizations everywhere are looking for ways to raise more money and reach their goals.

In today’s world, using social media to support your appeals may be just what you need to rise above the noise.

READ: 5 Year-End Fundraising Strategies for Your 2020 Appeal

Break down your appeal story into bite-sized chunks

Stay on message.

As you know, donors should be able to tell when messages in different mediums are part of the same campaign. And this holds true for social media.

And the best way to do this is through the story you tell.

So, let’s think about the story in your year-end appeal and how we can apply it to social media.

Hint: It’s not just copy and pasting your appeal letter into a Facebook post and calling it a day!

Social media is a great way to break down your story into bite-sized pieces. Any good social campaign consists of many posts over a given time. So, think about ways to extend the shelf life of your appeals with social media.

For example, posts on #GivingTuesday can set the stage for the story in your appeal mailer.

What was going on before the start of your story?

Use social media to provide context and create suspense by introducing the problem you’re trying to solve and what made your organization want to help. You can include a CTA that guides users to your website, where they can sign up for your mailing list and learn more about what you’re doing to help.

You can use a similar strategy in January and February to follow up on your story and let your donors know how their support made a difference!

READ: How to amplifi Your Giving Tuesday 2020 Outreach

Use each social platform to its strength

Use each platform intentionally.

We know your social posts need to tie into the main story and message of your appeal. But you can’t do this the same way on every social platform.

Every social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. And certain platforms appeal to some demographics more than others.

What’s right for you? It depends. Facebook has become a favorite among fundraisers for its wide audience demographics and suite of built-in fundraising tools.

And as the most widely used platform, Facebook is ideal for encouraging your audience to share with their friends and family.

If your nonprofit has strong visual elements, Instagram may be a good fit. For example, a museum would never run out of interesting items in their collection to share on Instagram!

But the same museum wouldn’t want to post the same content on their twitter feed. Twitter favors shorter form content and audience interaction. And it can be a great way to have more direct conversations and build relationships with your audience.

According to Nonprofits Source, 77 percent of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their tweet has been replied to. So even simply joining in on a conversation can open doors on Twitter. Especially if the comment was a complaint.

READ: 3 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Facebook to Their Advantage

Identify followers who regularly engage with you on social media and ask them to share your content

Leverage your networks.

Getting others to work with you may be the most effective way to support your appeal with social media. Take some time to look through your posts and see who your most engaged followers are.

You’re looking for anyone who regularly likes, comments, or shares your posts. Then, make a short list of those people and cross reference it with your data base to see if they give to your organization.

If they do, reach out to and see if they’d be interested in serving as a social ambassador for your organization. All they have to do is share some of your posts with their own networks.

They will likely jump at the opportunity to do more for the cause, since these are people who support your organization and goals!

The objective here is to use the audiences of your audience to get your message in front of as many people as possible. And your current supporters may be able to tap into a new network of others with the same values as your nonprofit!

READ: Finding Supporters Who Fit Your Ideal Donor Profile

Thank and show impact.

Your work on social media is not done once you send your year-end appeal.

As you know, stewardship is an essential part of any appeal strategy. After all, it’s not just about securing donations this December. You want to build relationships with your donors and keep them engaged so they are excited to give again.

And even the fundraisers who doubt the effectiveness of raising money on social will admit it is a great way to engage with audiences.

So, use social media to support your appeal by thanking donors for their past support, before your appeal arrives in the mail. And then thank your social audience as a whole in January for helping you reach your goal.

READ: Using Better Thank You’s to Build Bonds with Donors

Putting it together.

Closing out the calendar year is hectic for any organization that depends on donors to sustain programs and support operations.

These tips will help you organize your strategies, maximize limited resources, and raise more by supporting your appeal with social media.

Remember that no single method of communicating guarantees success. But you have a better chance of standing out, making an impression, and hitting your fundraising goals when you integrate you include social media in your appeal strategy!

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