Posts Tagged ‘social media’

 

Social Media: Practicing What we Preach

Posted by Marc Maxson on March 4th, 2010

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]


What it all means: The Global Open Challenge Leaderboard

Posted by Marc Maxson on September 17th, 2009


Earlier today, Dennis Whittle was looking at the Global Open Challenge leaderboard over John’s shoulder.
“Can you believe it? This page is getting more traffic than our homepage!” John said.
“Naturally. This is where the action is,” I said.

Meanwhile, our accountant James has been clicking the refresh screen every 2 minutes. “Look, an organization just overtook the #5 spot!”
What does it all mean?” Dennis asked. “This is the most dynamic thing on our site. I was at a conference, and someone mentioned his experience getting on the site and this leaderboard in the same breath.”

I am realizing that it all adds up to something different than we ever expected.

Now, I think our impact comes by transforming nonprofits to be more effective, more responsive, and more successful in turning those million little earth changing ideas into a better world.

This transformation comes in the first 30 days, if it comes at all. We train organizations on social media. Some adopt the best practices. Then we test everyone.

Those who fail still gain, sometimes even more, because the staff come back with a new hunger for learning. That hunger is what the official aid guys have been struggling to create for decades. And we get it for free, because everyone wants to be noticed and validated on the leaderboard.

It takes failure before some realize that we mean it when we say that they own their success. The work they do determines the funds they raise, not some granting foundation. Regular people empower the organization, especially when the people see they are part of something meaningful, a community with a cause. This dynamic is why the leaderboard matters.

As a PhD neuroscientist and a teacher, I fully believe testing and failure is how we make progress. Scientific research is about learning through failure. The Open Challenge is a test of whether nonprofits have a sustaining community of supporters.

Winners like Critical Exposure who built that community during the open challenge can attest to being transformed in three weeks (from Jared Schwartz of Frogloop.com, a nonprofit online marketing blog):

  • “We regularly updated our supporters on the fruits of their labor and during the final weeks of the competition.”
  • “We pointed our supporters directly to the real-time standings.”
  • “Many of our supporters later told us that as the competition entered its final days, they wore out the refresh buttons on their browser keeping tabs on the competition.”
  • “Our supporters were 100% emotionally invested in the competition and did whatever they could to help Critical Exposure win.”
  • “They actually wanted more updates from us!”

What it means:

A community based organization in Zimbabwe can now compete with a 501(c)3 nonprofit in New York City, if enough people care about them. What matters is how passionate their supporters are in advocating on behalf of the great work the organization is doing.

Tracking what matters in online fundraising

Posted by Marc Maxson on September 1st, 2009

John List at the University of Chicago studies fundraising strategies. In a recent article he said, “Especially in difficult times, it’s very important to learn what works and doesn’t work. I’m trying to change a sector that’s run on anecdotes into a sector that’s run based on scientific research.”

The down economy has resulted in some peculiar findings. List finds that phone marketing is more effective than direct mail, and door-to-door fundraisers get more people to open doors but with fewer donations:

 In one test, instead of knocking, they left fliers stating they’d be back during a specific time frame the next day. Before the economic meltdown, most people weren’t home or didn’t answer the door that second day. By early fall, however, people were more likely to answer the door, yet less likely to give. He concluded that most giving — more than 75% — is indeed driven by social pressure. It’s just that the economy provides a way out while still saving face. “Before the meltdown, if you answered the door, it was very difficult to say no,” Mr. List says. “But now people have a built-in excuse.” Source: www.chicagobusiness.com

One way we’ve tried to get beyond anecdote-driven fundraising strategies is by systematically collecting information about what works in online nonprofit fundraising and sharing that with our organizations. Take a look at our Global Open challenge.  It takes a different approach to raise money from a lot of people – a social media based strategy – and we are eager to join the conversation about what works. One way is to periodically link to other places and people whom we think you ought to know about, if you are trying to pursue funding for your little earth changing idea in a crowd-sourced way.

The other is to ask you what you think. Please submit comments!