Own Your List


We’ve all heard stories about people and companies that were succeeding on social media… and then “the algorithm” was changed…  and they lose a good portion of their audience.

This can happen to nonprofits, too.

As more and more nonprofits use Facebook and Instagram for fundraising, it’s good to remember that social media companies can change their algorithms or terms of service at any time. 

They can change a rule and your posts will seen by fewer people. 

This means that as you build a social media fundraising program, you are embracing more risk than when you’re building mail and email fundraising programs.

Please note: I am not advising nonprofits to completely avoid social media.  Social media can be a fantastic tool for smaller nonprofits to boost the performance of their mail and email campaigns.  Larger organizations with dedicated staff and budget can raise significant amounts of money.

But with all things social media, it’s good to acknowledge that you don’t have as much control as you do with traditional mail or email fundraising. 

This is why we counsel organizations to focus first on building their mail and email lists.  When you have limited resources, first build the systems and processes to maximize what you can highly control. 

This is doubly important because more money is raised via the mail and email than social media.

Then start to do the more speculative work of building and monetizing your social media presence.

Use your Social Posts to Build Better Donor Relationships


Fundraising is as much about building relationships with your donors as it is about raising money for your cause.

This is especially true for your mass donors, who because of their sheer numbers often don’t receive the face-to-face attention that your mid-level and major donors would. And it’s because of this, that frequent communication to your mass donors becomes more important.

Think about it this way…

Every appeal letter, newsletter, email, phone call, and social post from your organization is building an important relationship with your donor.

And one of the easiest, and most cost-effective ways to build that relationship is through social media. It may not yield the same number of gifts as your appeal letters, but social media can be an engaging way to interact, often in real-time, with your donors… if it’s done right.

There are lots of social media tips and tactics for fundraisers out there, but sometimes it’s worthwhile to remember the simple things.

1. Keep the post focused on one idea

Try not to muddy the waters by including multiple messages in your social post. Many organizations make this mistake and lose the donor’s interest in the process. Tell a story, promote an event, ask for help, but try not to do everything all at once. Remember, you only have a few precious seconds to grab and keep your donor’s attention, so keep focused on idea.

2. Make sure the image or video you use is relevant

It might sound obvious, but if you’re planning on including an image or a video in your social post, make sure it’s relevant to your headline and content. If you’re talking about Thanksgiving, for example, consider using images that best illustrate this holiday.

3. Make sure your landing page links work

Every clicked on a URL only to be directed to a random page? Or none at all? Before scheduling your social post, be sure to check the URL you’re using and that the content in your post matches the content on the landing page.

4. Keep your message donor-focused

Your social posts can absolutely be an extension of your fundraising, so just as we recommend doing with your appeal letters and newsletters, write your social posts with your donor in mind. Talk about the impact of their gift, how they helped solve a problem, or the difference they can make.

These four reminders are basic, and may be second nature, but if you’re tentatively dipping your toes in the social media water, and need some lane ropes, then we hope these suggestions help you build better relationships with your donors.