Charities are increasingly embracing social media as a means of reaching out to new and existing donors. While UK charity shops are experiencing record profits, with reported takings up £34m year on year , more traditional fundraising methods have typically suffered during the recession, leading charitable organisations to seek alternative methods of raising money. The answer, reports the Institute of Philanthropy http://www.instituteforphilanthropy.org/ is social media, which is fast becoming an essential tool for securing donations.
Charities throughout the country are busy tweeting, blogging and creating Facebook apps and social media games, including the RSPCA, Dyslexia Action and our very own J’s Hospice in Essex.
“Sustained social media campaigns are a vital part of charity fundraising,” explains Christine Joyce, Managing Director, CJAM. “By engaging in the social conversation, revealing their human side and empowering consumers to take instant action to support their most valued causes, charities have a real opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with donors and create a valuable community of advocates.”
CJAM recently developed a social media strategy for J’s Hospice, a specialist hospice providing support to young adults suffering with life limiting and life threatening conditions. Keen to raise awareness of its good work and increase charitable donations, J’s approached us to lay the foundations for a successful long-term campaign.
Working closely with key personnel, we advised on best ‘Twitter’ practice, managed the charity’s Facebook page and reinforced all social media activity via regular e-newsletters. We also created an overarching social media policy and trained the J’s team in running ongoing campaigns. Through a creative and enthusiastic programme of activity, we increased the organisation’s Twitter followers from 100 to more than 1,277 in just three months!
“In addition to creating the framework for an effective social media operation, we also supported the J’s Hospice ‘Be Bold, Be Blue’ fundraising event,” continues Joyce. “We encouraged participation among local businesses and consumers via a timely Twitter campaign, and secured support from social network platform shufflin.com as well as local celebrities and Essex Fashion Week to boost donations from potential donors.”
Our key recommendations to charities seeking to engage with social media are: think strategically about the best way to target different audiences, develop a set of key messages to motivate and inspire them to take action and create a steady stream of interesting and diverse social media content. Importantly, charities must also ensure that the giving mechanism is as simple as possible, whether it’s via Twitter, a smartphone app or mobile portal. The easier the giving journey, the greater its chance of success. Charities of all sizes are consistently discovering the benefits of going social and are setting out on a journey to revolutionise their fundraising strategy, using creativity and a targeted approach.