By Bill Brower (posted on his behalf by Marc):
As I travel around Southeast Asia for GlobalGiving, I’ve been holding workshops on online fundraising, a large portion of which I devote to talking about social media. I think to a lot of people working at NGOs here, many of whom are only hazily familiar with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, it can all sound like a lot of fluff. I can sense people thinking, “You really expect me to believe that my organization can make money through the website college kids use to post photos of their drunken escapades?” At first I was backing up my assertion with vague assurances that GlobalGiving sees donations coming in each week from various social media sites. “In one week in December we managed to raise $15,000 off Twitter alone!”
I now provide a textbook example of using a coordinated and dedicated social media effort to drive not only wider recognition but significant donations online courtesy of my wonderful colleagues back in D.C.
In the workshops, I tell people that the first step is just to get in the relevant conversations online: Alison, our social media guru, has done a great job of that; we have over 13,000 followers on Twitter.
Then I tell them to create interesting content: Alison recently riffed off the jokes going around online following Apple’s unveiling of the iPad:
“#iPad and #iTampon jokes are funny. But in #Uganda girls leave school for lack of sanitary pads: http://bit.ly/clXetd”
Our CEO, Dennis Whittle, also posted a blog, which drew off the buzz surrounding the iPad.
I tell participants in the workshops that interesting information is easily passed around online: The number of people who had this Tweet pass through their Twitter feeds, either directly or when mentioned by someone else, was on the order of hundreds of thousands. Dennis’s blog was mentioned on another blog on NEWCONNEXTIONS.
And I tell people that most givers are motivated by family and friends: GlobalGiving staff posted the iPad message to their personal Facebook pages. It caught their friends’ eyes, they donated and told others that they did on their Facebook page. All told, about 40 people gave over $1,600 to provide sanitary pads to girls in Uganda from our iPad social media messages.
[tags social media, twitter, Facebook, fundraising, iPad]