Fundraising using social media can be like nailing jelly to the wall – even organisations like the Red Cross, with a huge online following, only leverage a tiny percentage of their overall donations via the web.
There are success stories though, and they tend to follow a very set formula:
- Single, issue or individual-based appeals
- A good back story
- A clear picture of what the money will achieve
- A realistic target
- A deadline
- Supported through traditional fundraising and PR channels
When all these things come together, you get the “perfect storm” for online fundraising.
Putting it together
The £5000 they had raised was stolen – a huge blow after one of their most important fundraising events of the year.
We’d recently been working with HorseWorld on strategising for social media, and – despite some initial reluctance – they decided this setback was an opportunity to dip their toes into the world of fundraising through social media.
Through their JustGiving page, and promoted via Facebook and Twitter – as well as in the press and through their other fundraising channels, they quickly met the target and at the last count were over £10,ooo to the good – 200% of the original money that was taken.
HorseWorld succeeded because they had – and created – the perfect social media storm:
Single issue: They were only looking to replace money that was stolen, a very clear aim and a manageable scale.
A good back story: The burglary, especially at Christmas, was an emotive story. They followed up with some great update stories on individual givers to keep the story alive.
A clear picture of what the money will achieve: They equated the money to what it would it would have done for the horses in their care – paid for winter feed
A realistic target: It’s the oldest fundraising trick in the book, set a target that individual givers can see their small donation impacting- the “church roof appeal thermometer” technique.
A deadline: When people feel like they’d like to help, they can still need a sense of urgency to make them act. Setting a target, and a time to reach it, can do that.
Supported through traditional fundraising routes: One of the key things I always say to fundraisers stepping into social media for the first time is to remember that it is simply a tool to help you do your traditional fundraising job, it’s not a different discipline. HorseWorld were extremely effective in leveraging local media, their supporters and existing donors to promote this campaign.